Sega awarded $10,000 in piracy case

By Steve Watts, Jul 28, 2011 4:00pm PDT

Sega has been awarded $10,000, plus legal fees, in a suit against a site called MAPHIA, reports Patent Arcade. The company claimed MAPHIA "allowed for, and actively encouraged, the upload and download of unauthorized versions of copyrighted Sega video games." The suit alleged federal copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, and several California statutes.

We've seen cases brought against people for backing up games, but this one is set apart by some dubious business practices. Sherman, the owner and operator of the site, made a profit by selling game copiers personally. Sherman wasn't found liable for direct infringement, but was found liable for contributory infringement, due to evidence that he knew the copying was occurring, and that the purpose of the site was to create a need for his sale of game copiers.

Sherman was also found liable for a trademark infringement, since the Sega trademark was used. The court found "a likelihood of consumer confusion regarding hte sponsorship and origin of the game files available," leading to that count and one of false designation of origin.

Sega would have been entitled to triple the amount in damages if it had been able to prove other claims, but the court ruled that it hadn't done so.

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