DMCA injunction against company accused of importing Iranian cracking tools and Chinese password generator to unlock software

Defendant entered into a software license agreement with plaintiff that allowed defendant to use plaintiff’s software in China. Plaintiff filed suit, accusing defendant of violating the anticircumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which enabled defendant to use the software in California. It sought a preliminary injunction and the court granted the motion. 

The DMCA at 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1) prohibits “circumvention of technological measures that effectively control access to a copyrighted work.” The court found that plaintiff was likely to succeed on this claim: defendant’s computers contained evidence of crack files used to gain unauthorized access to plaintiff’s software, and these cracking tools were used to circumvent anti-piracy measures by unlocking the software. Also, defendant manually changed the MAC addresses of 11 computers in the United States, which also allowed defendant to circumvent plaintiff’s anti-piracy measures.

The court also found that plaintiff could prove violation of § 1201(a)(2), which prohibits importing and manufacturing “technology that circumvents a technological measure that ‘effectively controls access’ to a copyrighted work.” The forensic evidence collected from defendant’s computers showed that defendant imported a crack file from an Iranian software piracy website and obtained license key generator software from a Chinese website known to host pirated software.

Synopsys v. Innogrit, 2019 WL 2617091 (N.D. Cal. June 26, 2019)