Computer services giant EDS has admitted to an incident of software piracy against a tiny Irish start-up venture. EDS made an illegal copy of The Joy of Customer Care, a training CD-ROM it had requested on approval from E.Smart, a Dublin-based computer training specialist. E.Smart claimed the US company agreed an out of court settlement to pay damages of a five-figure sum, believed to be in the region of #20,000. E.Smart said its suspicions were aroused when it found that the copy returned by EDS after it decided not to buy, was not the original. It was later disclosed that EDS had copied the CD itself as well as the packaging and E.Smart branding, including the CD-ROM's name. E.Smart feared the services company was planning to steal its intellectual property by pirating the #550 CD for internal use. When contacted by E.Smart, EDS admitted that the disk which had been returned was not the original and apologised. Ciaran Dyar, managing director of E.Smart, said he was astonished that a company of EDS' stature should engage in copyright theft. "I suppose it could be taken as a compliment, but firms like ours face enough start-up difficulties without being the subject of copyright infringement," he said. An EDS spokeswoman described the copying as "a naive mistake on the part of one employee, who has now been disciplined". She added: "He was only trying to evaluate the disk. He copied the packaging because he wanted to make it look the real thing. All our employees are aware of copyright requirements." Ian Craig, of Cambridge law firm Hewitson Becke & Shaw, which acted for E.Smart, said: "Breach of copyright is an all too common problem in this industry and is potentially very damaging. E.Smart's success shows that proper patenting gives protection even against the largest international businesses." E.Smart has 12 employees. EDS has 100,000 employees and a market value of #12 billion.
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