Theft of source code is back in the spotlight. Alibre, a software company based in Richardson, Texas, alleges that a former employee—after being terminated—has begun illegally distributing a product called "RaceCAD," which Alibre says is actually its product, Alibre Design. Alibre officials say the problem came to light last week. Alibre's claim comes on the heels of the theft of source code for the video game Half Life.
"The program is being distributed on a Russian Web site," says J. Paul Grayson, CEO of Alibre. The alleged thief of Alibre's source code has moved to Russia, following his termination, according to Grayson. "We have had direct contact with the individual involved, who has admitted to stealing the product," he says. "Amazingly, he offered to 'settle' with us and discontinue the English version if we gave him the Russian version. Clearly, the only thing he is going to get is a stiff penalty and likely jail time. Our message to those who have unknowingly used RaceCAD is that they must remove it from their systems immediately. We're offering a general amnesty to those in Russia who unwittingly downloaded the illegal product and will allow them to use a legal version of Alibre Design for a period of time." Alibre is not releasing the name of the alleged code thief.
According to Grayson, the alleged thief made "some minor modifications" to the product before distributing it. Grayson also says that currently the software is being distributed for free, but that messages from the individual in question have suggested that RaceCAD may soon go on sale for $200. "We are in contact with the local police and with the FBI," Grayson says. "But to tell you the truth, it's very hard to take any action in cases like this. Above all, we would like people not to go get the product." Alibre has contacted the ISP hosting the Russian Web site distributing the software. Alibre has also posted Google advertisements in both English and Russian to warn those who use the search term RaceCAD, that the software is being illegally distributed.