Software Pirate Sentenced (May 31, 2002)
DOJ Seal
May 31, 2002

U.S. Department of Justice
Roscoe C. Howard, Jr.
United States Attorney
for the District of Columbia
Judiciary Center
555 Fourth St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
For information Contact Public Affairs
Channing Philips
(202) 514-6933

Software Pirate Sentenced

Washington, D.C. - United States Attorney Roscoe C. Howard, Jr. and Van A. Harp, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, announced that Yaroslav Suris, 27, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Jackson for one felony count of Criminal Infringement of a Copyright, in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 506(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(b)(1). Suris was sentenced two months incarceration, followed by fourteen months home detention. He was also ordered to pay $290,556 in restitution. In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Howard recognized that the software industry loses millions in revenue each year due to Internet software piracy, and emphasized the importance of prosecuting copyright infringement.

This case arose from Yaroslav Suris actions infringing the copyrights of numerous expensive software packages by making multiple copies of the software, then selling them over the Internet at prices far below their retail value. From February 2000 to April 2001, Suris advertised the following copyrighted software for sale, at prices far below the listed retail price, on the Yahoo! auction website:

Company Software Retail Price

Alias-Wavefront Maya Unlimited 2.5 $16,000

Side Effects Houdini 4.0 $17,000

Adobe Acrobat 4.0 $ 249

Adobe Illustroto 8.0 $ 399

Adobe Page Mill 3.0 $ 99

Adobe Photoshop 6.0 $ 609

Corel Draw 9 $ 695

Macromedia Flash 9 $ 299

Macromedia Freehand 8.0 $ 399

Macromedia Autocad 2000 $ 3,750 Suris duplicated the software on equipment he maintained in his home. He would negotiate a price with a customer over the Internet, then mail the duplicated software on an unmarked CD. For example, Suris sold four copies of Maya Unlimited 2.5, a graphics software package which retails at approximately $16,000 per copy, for a total of $195.00. Customers paid through PayPal, an online payment system, or by mailing checks or money orders.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted Suris under the guise of a real customer, and made four undercover purchases from him of multiple copies of the copyright protected software, for a total of $1310. The retail value of the software sold in those four sales was approximately $290,000.

In announcing the sentence, United States Attorney Howard and Assistant Director in Charge Harp commended the investigative work of Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Christopher Hinkle, and the cooperation of the Software & Information Industry Association. They also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Miriam Smolen who prosecuted the case.