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Lawsuit: Trial version of TransMagic's CAD software includes spyware

Grant Gross | April 28, 2011
A lawsuit alleges that a trial version of a 3D CAD software package tracked users, allowing the company to demand payment months later.

The Colorado software vendor does collect contact information, including an e-mail address and phone number, when a customer downloads a trial version from its website, Reade said. "Our standard practice is to attempt to follow-up with these people within a week or two," he said. "If we connect with them, we offer to answer any questions about our products, schedule webinars or training, provide technical support and generally determine if there is a match between their needs and our products."

If the potential customer does not buy the software, they get an e-mail from TransMagic a few months later, and they can then opt out of future communications, Reade said.

"TransMagic is like most software companies," he added. "We want to earn our business by delivering a high-quality product that solves problems. I don't think we are very different than other software companies."

A representative of ITCA declined to be interviewed unless he could see part of the news story before it was published. "There are all these wild speculations and conspiracy theories on the Internet," he said.

The lawsuit alleges that TransMagic and ITCA use an anticopying and licensing software package called Sheriff, from vendor Licensing Technologies, which allows users of the package to record user activities to log files.

Pimentel, who works for an architect firm, downloaded the software from a different website than TransMagic.com, but he believed the software to be similar to the trial version offered by the company, according to the complaint. Pimentel did not provide contact information when he downloaded the software, but TransMagic and ITCA were able to gather detailed information about him, including his IP (Internet Protocol) address, the media access control address associated with his computer and his e-mail address, the complaint said.

The lawsuit accuses TransMagic, ITCA and Licensing Technologies of violating the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and the Massachusetts Privacy Act. Pimentel's lawyers are asking for the court to order a halt to the alleged tracking activities and asking for an undisclosed amount of money.

 

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