December 16, 1997
FOSTER CITY, Calif., December 16, 1997 -- Continuing its efforts to protect its worldwide intellectual property rights related to the PlayStation game console and PlayStation™ software, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. today filed civil actions against six software counterfeiters.
The counterfeiters are charged with selling illegally copied versions of PlayStation videogame software via the Internet. Many of the companies in question have advertised their ability to make a "back-up" disc of a PlayStation game, provided one already owns an authentic copy of the game. According to Sony Computer Entertainment America, not only is it illegal for an individual to copy a PlayStation disc, but also it is an offense for companies to supply copies of games based on the false pretense that the sale is lawful as long as an authorized copy was originally purchased by the consumer.
Due to the unique nature of the counterfeiters' scheme, the suits against these individuals charge infringement of copyright, trademark and false advertising.
"There are numerous parties that are being adversely affected by the illegal sale of counterfeit software," said Riley R. Russell, vice president, legal and business affairs, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "First, the consumer is paying for a grossly inferior software product with no recourse for replacement. Second, the third-party publishers - companies who spend their company's time, money and personnel producing game software - deserve to be compensated from the legitimate sale of their game software. These people are artists and their efforts should be recognized. Finally, as the game console manufacturer, the integrity of our brand name is being maliciously damaged."
According to software industry reports, counterfeiters costs the software industry an estimated $10-15 billion annually worldwide. Sony Computer Entertainment America has gone on record asserting that it will go to any length to protect the integrity of PlayStation products and that it will vigorously prosecute all infringements to the greatest extent of the law. This includes the potential of instigating criminal prosecutions against future infringers. In addition, the Company will be sending hundreds of "cease and desist" letters to additional companies and individuals who are selling illegal copies of PlayStation game software over the Internet.
"We want everyone involved to know that producing PlayStation software illegally is a crime and that we will go after Internet sellers as vigorously as a retail store selling counterfeit product," stated Russell.
So that unsuspecting PlayStation gamers will know which discs are authentic, Sony Computer Entertainment America has implemented a unique process that makes one side of each PlayStation software disc black.
"Counterfeiters have been unable to duplicate our black disc process," added Russell. "Therefore, if a consumer questions the legitimacy of a game, they should flip the disc over and look for the black underside."
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. markets the PlayStation game console for distribution in North America, develops and publishes software for the PlayStation game console, and manages the U.S. third party licensing program. Based in Foster City, Calif., Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.