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TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: disks_do.txt

Disks & Docs: mail-order pirated software




[reprinted from the April 1991 issue of Jumpdisk, with permission]

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THE EDITOR'S TWO CENTS
By Richard Ramella
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UNAUTHORIZED COPIES
     This past November one of our subscribers told me unauthorized copies of
JUMPDISK and another of our copyright products, DOS LAB, were being sold by a
mail order firm called Disks & Docs in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
     The material being sold was not authorized, original-labeled versions,
but disks containing copied versions, which were being peddled without our
permission.
     I had one of our associates order our own products from Disks & Docs,
and duly received them.
     When I obtained an Amiga products catalog from Disks & Docs, I was
amazed by the blatant offerings. I would say most of the major Amiga-specific
software is being sold by this outfit. Electronic Arts, Gold Disk, Mindscape,
Activision, Psygnosis, Broderbund, Epyx, Infocom, Sierra, Oxxi, Progressive,
Soft Logic, Taito -- these are just a few of the companies whose products are
being copied and sold.
     According to the latest catalog I have received from Disks & Docs, about
3,000 Amiga-specific titles are being offered. Many of them are commercial
products. They are being sold for $4 to $6 a disk.
     The Disks & Docs catalog includes the following statement: "We are
providing a back-up service only....for software and manuals ! If you order
anything from us, it is agreed and understood that you do in fact own the
original and are only requesting a back-up of your original ! Any other use
is expressly forbidden" . . . "We do not support piracy !"
     That statement is of course poppycock.
     I would like to see Disks and Docs go out of business. My motivations
are not spiteful. Blowing the whistle on Disks & Docs is meant to protect the
Amiga community, not just for big-timers, not just for the kitchen table
entrepreneurs, but for the honest users of the Amiga. When unauthorized
copying becomes rampant, software firms become disgusted with the market and
abandon it.
     When I had evidence this operation would indeed sell copies of other
people's creations, I began to ask around. Further amazement. No one among
the developers I talked to had ever heard of the operation.
     Realizing I was onto something no one else appeared to know, I resisted
the impulse to call Disks & Docs. An emotional outburst would have been
momentarily satisfying, but a longer-term strategy was worth more.
     So I began an investigation to find out who was running the place. The
catalog included no names, and the man who answered the telephone at Disks &
Docs never identified himself by name.
     Now I have some information I would like to pass on to all Amiga
companies whose software and documentation are being sold by Disks & Docs:
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     The post office box of Disks & Docs was rented by Richard A. Zeman.
     Richard A. Zeman and Disks & Docs have a joint account at a La Crosse,
Wisconsin, bank.
     Richard A. Zeman's home address is 1047 S. 28th St., La Crosse,
Wisconsin 54602.
     Richard A. Zeman's home telephone number is 1-608-788-8030.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     I hope I have given sufficient information to make it possible for
representatives of affected Amiga software publishers to contact Mr. Zeman
and explain their policies regarding the unauthorized duplication and sale of
their copyright products.
     I have quietly passed on facts regarding Disks & Docs' activities to
other Amiga developers and publishers over the past three months.
     I have given the information regarding Disks & Docs to attorneys and
legal staff representing several Amiga software developers.
     By the time this item is published in JUMPDISK, I will have prepared and
mailed copies of a letter containing these facts to scores of affected Amiga
software firms.
     Disks & Docs also advertises it has C-64 and IBM software for sale. I
have no information on whether this involves copies of copyright material.
     To all Amiga owners: Of course, I recommend you do not deal with this
firm. Highest reason is common morality. Lowest reason: There are some
Amiga-specific mailing lists on which you might be embarrassed to have your
name and address discovered.

----
Richard asks any Amiga developers who are interested to find out of their
products are being pirated and sold by "Disks & Docs" to contact him.
You can either write to Richard, c/ Jumpdisk, 1493 Mt. View Ave., 
Chico, CA 95926 or phone him at 916-343-7658 (Pacific Time).  He has
Disk & Docs' catalog and can tell you if your products are on it. 





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