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Tuesday, 12 September 2006 18:15

Software pirate has 7 years to consider next job


When most of us think about software piracy, we imagine some guy down the street or in China with a pirated copy of Windows or Office running on his cheap PC. However, that scenario bears no resemblance to the case of 27 year old Californian Nathan Peterson, who has been sentenced to seven years in prison for selling counterfeit software.

In fact, software counterfeiter is a far more fitting description for Peterson, who ran a thriving business and became a multi-millionaire selling copied software from the likes of Microsoft, Adobe and Symantec, through his website

Apparently selling copied software is a good business because Peterson reportedly made more than US$5 million in just two years, which enabled him to live a lifestyle most 27 year olds can only dream about. Unfortunately for Peterson, it's also considered to be a Federal offence in the US, akin to robbing a bank.

So now, Peterson not only has to spend 7 years behind bars, he has to pay back US$5.4 million to the companies he deprived of revenues. There are some who may argue that this sentence is too harsh because it's only software piracy. However, Peterson did not merely infringe the copyright of the companies whose products he copied so that he could use them himself. That's piracy and it's worth a slap on the wrist. Peterson set himself up in business against the companies, in order to enrich himself on the software they developed. That's grand theft and in the US it's worth prison.

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Stan Beer

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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