Software Pirate Fined, Going to Jail

A California man was sentenced to 87 months, or more than seven years,
in prison and ordered to repay $5.4 million in what federal prosecutors called the largest U.S. software piracy operation.

Virginia Eastern District Judge T.S. Ellis, III, also ordered Nathan L.
Peterson, 27, of Antelope Acres, Calif., to forfeit assets,
including homes, cars and a boat purchased from selling copies of
copyrighted software from Microsoft , Adobe
Systems and Symantec , among
others, according to a statement.

Peterson plead guilty in December to two counts of criminal
copyright infringement after FBI agents shut down his Web site.

The FBI investigation spanned 2003 to February
2005 and included purchases of pirated software from the site and were
delivered to an undercover agent over the Internet or to Northern
Virginia addresses.

The illegal sales cost software publishers nearly
$20 million, according to the FBI.

Peterson had claimed he sold the software as backups for businesses.
Following his guilty plea, Peterson was arrested and is serving
an 18-month sentence for selling assault weapons, according to the

“This defendant lined his pockets by stealing the hard work of
others,” according to a statement by Alice S. Fisher, Assistant U.S.
Attorney of the Criminal Division.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an organization created by
companies to police illegal sales, provided substantial
help to the investigation, according to prosecutors.

Peterson sold
more than 84,000 disks, John Wolfe, BSA’s Director of Internet
Enforcement told

Software piracy cost the industry $6.1 billion in 2005, according to
the BSA.

The industry group created a $200,000 fund to pay for tips resulting
in investigations and prosecutions of alleged piracy.

In July, the BSA awarded more than $15,000 to people who reported
instances of piracy

This isn’t the first piracy case to come before Ellis.

In August, Danny Ferrer, a 37-year old software pirate from
Lakeland, Fla., was sentenced to up to 10 years and agreed to
forfeit a helicopter, six cars (including a 1992 Lamborghini), boat,
flight simulator and even an ambulance.

site sold more than $2.5 million worth of copyrighted software.

In July, Microsoft filed 26 lawsuits against companies selling illegal versions of its applications.

It said businesses selling legitimate
Microsoft software cannot compete with the pirates.

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