Chinese prosecution of businessman alleged to have sold £62 million in stolen software | FAST

Chinese prosecution of businessman alleged to have sold £62 million in stolen software

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The scale of software piracy both ‘international in scope and military in its execution’ according to FAST

The prosecution of a Chinese businessman who pleaded guilty in America to selling pirated US business software worth more than £62 million illustrates starkly the scale of piracy according to the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).

The software was stolen from 200 software publishers, including the likes of Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Rockwell Automation and was sold in 2008-2011 for a fraction of their high street prices.

The businessman, Xiang Li was arrested in June 2011 in Saipan during an undercover sting operation.

According to prosecutors black market buyers were located in 28 US States and more than 60 countries.

Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at the Federation Against Software Theft, stated: “This case clearly demonstrates that software piracy is still a huge international problem spanning borders and international jurisdictions.

“We are not taking about someone downloading a program in their bedroom. What makes this particular case stand out is the military precision of this illicit business and its execution including and the fact that it was conducted on an industrial scale,” he added.

The scale of the fraud came to light after a US publisher discovered his company's software being sold on Mr Li's website, and notified the authorities.

According to prosecutors the businessman searched for hacked software programs on internet forums before advertising them for sale on his websites which offered more than 2,000 pirated titles.