WASHINGTON, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Software Publishers Association (SPA) announced that a federal court ruled in favor of the SPA members in a civil copyright infringement suit against Global Software & Accessories, Inc. for unauthorized rental of computer software. The SPA lawsuit was the first case to test the Computer Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990, which prohibited the unauthorized rental of computer software. The software retailer, Global Software & Accessories, Inc., operates three stores on Long Island, New York, at which software is offered pursuant to a `Deferred Billing Plan.` The Deferred Billing Plan allows customers to take software home and keep it for up to five days for a fee, called a `non-refundable deposit,` that is only a fraction of the purchase price. If the customer keeps the software for more than five days, the customer is charged the difference between the `non-refundable deposit` and the purchase price. Global Software argued that this practice did not constitute a rental. In practice, however, the evidence showed that the software is returned by the customer 99% of the time, and US District Judge Leonard Wexler rejected the defendant's argument. Judge Wexler ruled that the defendant's Deferred Billing Plan constitutes copyright infringement, that the plaintiff software manufacturers are entitled to a permanent injunction, that the infringement was committed willfully (which may entitle the plaintiffs to as much as $100,000 in damages), and that the plaintiffs were entitled to an award of costs and attorneys' fees, which will be set by the court at a later date. (Central Point Software, Inc., et al. v. Global Software & Accessories, Inc., CV-93-2367, US District Court for the Eastern District of New York (3/28/95)). Sandra A. Sellers, SPA's Director of Litigation, stated that, `apart from being the first decision under the 1990 Rental Amendments Act, the decision in this case is important because it reaffirms that protections afforded by the copyright laws are not easily circumvented. A court will look behind the label applied by the infringer and call a rental by its true name. We are pleased that the Congress' intent behind the Rental Amendments was preserved and common sense prevailed.` Since 1988 the Software Publishers Association has fought software piracy through education and enforcement. The SPA distributes free of charge materials designed to educate software users and to help businesses, government entities, and educational institutions manage their internal software practices. The SPA also has initiated thousands of lawsuits and audits on behalf of its members against businesses, computer dealers, bulletin board services, and educational institutions that have violated its members' copyrights. The SPA's anti-piracy hotline, 800-388-7478, accepts calls reporting software violations and requests for information and materials. The Software Publishers Association is the principal trade association of the personal computer software industry. Its 1,160 members represent the leading publishers in the business, consumer, education, and entertainment software markets. The SPA has offices in Washington, DC, and Paris, France. SPA press releases are available on-line through Compuserve (GO: SPAFORUM) or on the Internet (WWW.SPA.ORG).