WASHINGTON – Two more defendants pleaded guilty in Milwaukee to charges of criminal copyright infringement as a result of their selling counterfeit software on eBay, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher for the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced today.
Robert Koster of Jonesboro, Ark., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller, and Yutaka Yamamoto of Pico Rivera, Calif., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, to selling counterfeit Rockwell Automation computer software over the Internet. The software sold by the two defendants had a combined retail value of almost $6 million. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. The defendants will be sentenced before Judge Stadtmueller in November 2007 along with four additional defendants who previously pleaded guilty in Milwaukee on April 26, 2007.
Rockwell Automation Inc. is a global provider of automation, power, control and information solutions. It produces, among other things, specialized factory management software. The majority of the software applications sold by these defendants on eBay had retail prices ranging from approximately $900 to $11,300. Rockwell Automation owns the registered copyrights to all Rockwell/Allen Bradley software and the copyright on the product’s packaging.
Koster admitted that from Sept. 4, 2003, through Sept. 14, 2004, he initiated 105 or more separate online auctions in which he sold copies of Rockwell Automation software on eBay for a personal profit exceeding $23,000. The actual retail value of this software was more than $5 million.
Yamamoto admitted that from Dec. 7, 2003, through Aug. 12, 2004, he initiated 92 or more separate online auctions in which he sold Rockwell Automation software on eBay for a personal profit exceeding $6,000. The actual retail value of this software was approximately $543,000.
Today’s pleas bring the total number of felony convictions involving the eBay auction sales of counterfeit Rockwell Automation software to nine. In addition to six pleas in Wisconsin, there have been two convictions in the Eastern District of Michigan and another in the Southern District of Indiana. The combined retail value of the counterfeit software in all nine prosecutions is approximately $30 million.
Online auction sales of counterfeit and pirated goods have increased exponentially in recent years, causing significant losses to the copyright and trademark industries. The Department of Justice’s initiative to combat online auction piracy is just one of several steps being undertaken to address these losses and hold responsible those defendants engaged in criminal copyright infringement.
These cases were investigated by the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office. Trial attorney Matthew J. Bassiur of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen A. Ingraham for the Eastern District of Wisconsin prosecuted these cases on behalf of the government.