On issues of internet copyright law

Siemens files mass Doe software piracy suit in New York

with 19 comments

Last week, Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc filed a complaint in the Southern District of NY against 100 unknown John Doe defendants for allegedly pirating their software.

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Each defendant is known to Plaintiff only by the Internet Protocol (“IP”) address assigned to that Defendant by his or her ISP…


It’s not clear how Siemens harvested the IPs. Is this a file-sharing lawsuit, or is the software “phoning-home” to Siemens and allowing them to determine if users are using pirated installations?

This will be an interesting case to watch. It’s a bit different than the other mass-Doe suits I’ve written about, in that it involves software rather than video, and it’s been filed in a district not known for these type of lawsuits.


Written by copyrightclerk

March 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

19 Responses

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  1. My curiosity is do all 3 things come as a single package, or have the committed the first sin of combining different actions into a single one for economy.

    that anonymous coward

    March 25, 2014 at 8:24 pm

  2. In 2011-12 several copyright trolls tried to gain a toehold in the SDNY but were soundly rebuffed on geolocation and swarm joinder issues. As you point out the complaint is not clear as to how the Does are connected to each other so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out. My prediction is its shelf life is several months.


    March 25, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    • Agree. SDNY is not a friendly place for Doe lawsuits, and this complaint reads like a boilerplace copyright troll lawsuit.


      March 26, 2014 at 11:34 am

  3. It is good to see you writing again. I was surprised that this ended up being filed as a copyright infringment suit rather than a patent infringement lawsuit. Oh well, it was only a matter of time before we saw a software piracy John Doe case. (If I recall, there was one attempt in TXND to file a software piracy case, but it went nowhere.)


    March 26, 2014 at 11:33 am

  4. Looks like they tried this back in 2011 but the suit just fizzled out.


    March 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

  5. I would bet bittorrent and not some software pingback. otherwise I dont see how they could possibly argue joint liability.

    sharp as a marble

    March 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    • Couldn’t it be ping back (phone home) software and everyone joined is using the same software and SN# at the same time from different locations?

      March 26, 2014 at 11:19 pm

  6. Looking at what the software is, basically design software, almost certainly being used in a “professional” context by companies on a continuing basis (rather than a one-time download that might or might not actually get watched), the ability to find the companies (going through individual ISP subscriber addresses) and the individuals involved is quite good.

    They are also talking about licenses that sell for a few grand per year per seat. ROI for the businesses involved could be 30 or 40 grand per year per seat in productivity increases if a full-time person is using the software. This isn’t trolling repeatedly for chump change; I expect follow-through just to make an example of those that don’t pay up and a public offer of a deal to other infringers.

    Methinks the software is phoning home, rather than just a “bit torrent”. And while I can go use some of that software for free in a non-professional context, such as First Robotics, I well understand there are significant charges to use it in a professional context.

    Whether joinder is proper I don’t know, since the facts of the defendants are likely to be in common…small or medium businesses engaged in mechanical design with an employed draftsperson, and discoverable files on their hard drives showing the software is indeed installed and running.


    March 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

  7. […] that. As noticed by the CopyrightClerk website, Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. filed a mass infringement lawsuit against 100 John Does. It’s not clear how Siemens found these individuals, but it only has IP addresses (which more […]

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