A appellate court in Seoul, South Korea has sided with a lower court’s decision that two medium-sized companies must pay full price for all to all the pirated software that they used.  The court also stated that even though the software was used temporarily, full price, which includes distribution costs, must be reimbursed to the software developers involved in the suit. 

Seven software manufactures based in and outside of South Korea filed suit against two medium-sized South Korean-based companies that were using pirated versions of their software.  The seven plaintiffs included the likes of the software giant, Microsoft and the South Korean firm, Hancom. 

The two companies that were sued had installed version of Windows, MS Office and other computer programs back in 2009 and used the pirated software for many months before uninstalling it.  The South Korean High Court in Seoul agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered them to reimburse the companies for their lost revenue.  The court also said that even though the two companies used the software for a brief period, they were still obligated to pay the software developers full price for their products. 

This ruling was actually an appeal from a lower court that ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and said that both companies violated the copyrights of the software makers. The appeal by the defendants argued that the amount of reimbursement to the software developers should be adjusted in accordance with the time the software was used.  The defendant’s legal counsel further argued in appellate court that paying full price for the software was unfair since that cost included distribution costs along with the copyright fees.

The high court ruled that full price must be paid for the pirated software because if the companies were only to pay for the time used, then pirated software would become more widespread and other companies in South Korea would not be fearful of any major repercussions.

In total the court ordered one company to pay approximately $42,000 (U.S.) and the other was made to pay nearly $107,000.