Sony Corp.’s American electronic gaming arm, Sony Computer Entertainment America, is going ballistic on software piracy, filing Tuesday a string of civil lawsuits against six separate alleged software counterfeiters.

SCEA attorneys allege that the “pirates” were engaged in illegal sales of cloned games for the hit PlayStation gaming console, and that the perpetrators’ main avenue for sale was the Internet. Billed as “back-up copies,” these clones were sold to registered owners of PlayStation consoles and games who could give the duped copies to their friends.

Due to the nature of the Net, most of the six charged entities or persons live outside of California, which is why the civil suits were filed in federal court. Additionally, SCEA legal VP Riley Russell said that Tuesday’s filings were just the beginning in a new offensive aimed at greatly attenuating unlawful PlayStation hardware and software trafficking.

“We want everyone to know that producing PlayStation software illegally is a crime,” Russell said, “and that we will go after Internet sellers as vigorously as a retail store selling counterfeit product.”

Russell added that the six lawsuits were filed against the most outrageous violators. He said that several hundred additional “cease and desist” letters are being sent to less serious infractors who could be pursued more aggressively at any time.

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