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SIIA Scores Major Victories in Kaplan Test Prep Piracy Lawsuits
Sep 09, 2010 (01:09 PM EDT)
Anti-Piracy Crusade Leads to Five-Figure Settlements with Defendants who Sold Counterfeit Medical Test Prep Materials
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today announced that it settled three test prep piracy lawsuits after each defendant shut down his piracy operations and agreed to pay a substantial five-figure sum. On behalf of SIIA member Kaplan, SIIA investigated and filed lawsuits in April against Carlos Ocampo of Yonkers, NY, Husein Poonawala of Chicago, Ill., and Loganathan Pragash of Chicago, Ill. All three defendants used various websites to sell counterfeit or unauthorized copies of Kaplan's United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) preparation materials.
"SIIA operates the industry's most aggressive anti-piracy campaign – relentlessly pursuing individuals who use the Internet to illegally peddle counterfeit software and other creative works," said Scott Bain, Chief Litigation Counsel and Director of Internet Anti-Piracy for SIIA. "Piracy is not a quick way to make money. It is a crime with life-altering consequences, including steep fines and even jail time. As these defendants have learned, software pirates risk far more than they could ever gain."
"Kaplan would much prefer to dedicate its resources to helping medical graduates succeed on their licensing examinations rather than pursuing illegal activities, but part of our commitment to students includes making certain that they are not deceived by counterfeit versions of our products," said Preeti Torres, Deputy General Counsel for Kaplan's test prep division. "While we strongly believe most upcoming medical professionals respect the intellectual property rights of others, we want to remind those who don't that they can potentially find themselves facing serious consequences. Test prep piracy has the potential to adversely affect both the seller and the buyer financially and professionally."
The lawsuits, filed in April before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, charged each defendant with knowingly engaging in both copyright infringement and trademark infringement through the fraudulent sale of Kaplan USMLE preparation materials.
Following the settlement, the defendants issued statements:
"I am highly embarrassed by this incident, which has the potential to negatively impact my reputation, employment prospects and career," said Ocampo. "I am sincerely sorry and hope others do not follow what would only be a bad example."
"I urge others to take copyright and trademark infringement very seriously and weigh the possibly small monetary gain they may receive from selling counterfeit materials versus the cost and consequence," said Poonawala.
"Copying Kaplan's USMLE materials and selling them for profit is illegal, and now that I recognize the potentially career-damaging consequences of doing so, I deeply regret my actions," said Pragash. "It was wrong of me to break the law both as a student and as a doctor."
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to more than 500 leading software and information companies. For further information, visit: www.siia.net.
About SIIA Anti-Piracy
The Software & Information Industry Association's Anti-Piracy Division conducts a comprehensive, industry-wide campaign to fight software and content piracy. The proactive campaign is premised on the notion that one must balance enforcement with education in order to be effective.
About Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions (www.kaptest.com), a division of Kaplan, Inc., is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings and a complete array of books, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.
SIIA Contact: John Crosby, 202-289-7442, firstname.lastname@example.org
PR Contact: Beth Dozier, Rational 360, 202-429-1833, email@example.com
SOURCE Software & Information Industry Association