Tough stance on Net abuse

Alison Laferla reports

City firm Rowe & Maw has praised UK judges for acting quickly to halt the illegal use of the Internet after it successfully obtained an injunction to prevent breach of copyright.

The firm, acting for a Toronto software house, obtained a High Court injunction prohibiting the unlawful distribution of software through an Internet bulletin board.

Interactive Image Technologies found its electronics workbench program had been unlawfully posted on a bulletin board; subscribers to the board across the globe could download the program.

But Rowe & Maw obtained an injunction against the operator, prohibiting him from distributing the software.

Joe Koenig, president of Interactive Image Technologies, said: "The potential for damage to our markets around the world from a bulletin board operator posting illegal copies of our software is immense. It is comforting to know that the UK courts are sympathetic to these risks and can be persuaded to act decisively to help software companies.

"We hope our action will benefit other firms who have also suffered at the hands of such people."

Mark Prinsley, intellectual property partner at Rowe & Maw, said: "It is important that software houses are aware that there are means of stopping infringement.

"This is very positive. The UK courts are giving practical help and speedy relief. They are really responding well to potential major damage to software houses."