Man sues after DRM allegedly discloses personal information

A Boston architect allegedly got a nasty surprise after downloading a copy of Transmagic’s EXPERT software, and has filed a lawsuit against the company.

Miguel Pimentel began a class action lawsuit, claiming that he was harassed by the ITCA (IT Compliance Association) after briefly using the software and uninstalling it during a trial period. He believes that Transmagic embedded DRM code in the program which would capture users’ personal information and transmit it back to the company without their knowledge in a type of copyright enforcement scheme.

Man sues after DRM allegedly discloses personal information

“Transmagic has incorporated a ‘Phone-Home Function’ as part of its product to trap those who download and attempt to use copies of Transmagic software without agreeing to Transmagic’s EULA and to track the activities of all persons using Transmagic software,” says Pimentel’s legal complaint.

Tim Cushing of Techdirt posted an excellent summary of the situation:

“Pimentel, aware of their seven-day trial period, had downloaded a copy of Transmagic’s EXPERT software from an unspecified site. After experimenting with it a few times, he uninstalled it and deleted the software. Ninety days later, he was contacted by Anita Jonjic, a “mediator” employed by ITCA, who accused Pimental of “illegally downloading” the program and informed him that if “he did not agree to purchase the product license and service plan for $10,000 plus annually recurring maintenance fees, Transmagic and ITCA would take legal action against him for $150,000.” She also made it clear that she knew where Pimentel worked and would not disclose his “piracy” to his employers as long as the fees were paid.”

Transmagic apparently requires users to supply first name, last name, company name, phone number, country, and corporate website just to download and use their programs during the trial period. Their privacy policy states that they “will not sell, disclose or rent to third parties individually identifiable user information collected at our web site, through our servers or otherwise obtained by us, other than to provide our product, services and updates as set forth in this privacy policy.” Obviously, if Mr. Pimentel’s claims are true, he’s got quite a case here.

Let’s hope other companies don’t begin picking up such illicit practices.