Assassins' Guild BBS raided for piracy, April 19, 1995

-April 19, 2017

On April 19, 1995, US Marshals and investigators from Microsoft and Novell raided the Assassins' Guild BBS (bulletin board system), one of the largest pirate BBS in the world, in Lexington, KY.

The board was said to be the base of operations for the Pirates With Attitude (PWA) and Razor 1911 warez groups, two of the most infamous pirate groups on the Internet accused of distributing copyrighted files without fees or royalties.

As an active beta tester for Microsoft, IBM, and many other companies, the board’s system operator, Scott Morris, could share files for users to download. The Assassins’ Guild BBS ran on a Novell network and allowed the groups to access hundreds of pirated software programs, including Microsoft's Windows 95 product, which was scheduled to be released for sale a few months later.

On January 12, 1996, Morris agreed to pay $70,300 and forfeit more than $40,000 worth of computer hardware to settle a civil suit brought by Microsoft and Novell. He also agreed to assist the companies in their continuing BBS investigations.

Bob Kruger, director of enforcement for the BSA, a software alliance representing software makers, said the case set an important precedent for this industry: "It sends a clear message to operators of bulletin boards who are illegally distributing copyright-protected software that they will be investigated and sued, or criminally prosecuted."

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For more moments in tech history, see this blog. EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.

Editor's note: This article was originally posted on April 19, 2013 and edited on April 19, 2017.

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