Shanghai: software gang gets hard time

Shanghai: software gang gets hard time


Sentences for nine gang members involved in an international software counterfeiting scheme were upheld by the Shanghai High People's Court yesterday.

The nine, who sold millions of dollars in pirated software, had previously received sentences of two to nine years by the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People's Court.

From 2003 to 2007, the gang, led by Shanghai native Ma Jingyi, sold 677,000 copies of pirated computer software to US companies and individuals for $10.48 million. The gang's profit was more than 80 million yuan.

The illegally copied and distributed software was mostly an anti-virus program from Symantec.

Ma's gang, which oversaw the production of 442,000 copies of the pirated program, was convicted of infringing copyright.

Gang members were arrested in July 2007 following a joint investigation launched in 2005 by China's public security ministry and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In 2003 Ma set up companies in Shanghai, selling software, most of it pirated, to US buyers. To avoid being detected, Ma kept most of his business on the Internet.

He hired workers in Shanghai to advertise his cheap software online and to look for customers and others in the US to process payments and deliver products. His primary customers were firms selling computer hardware and software.

Ma sold the pirated version for $15. The authorized version costs about $39. Last month, Symantec filed a lawsuit against Ma's three companies, demanding compensation of 10 million yuan.

Following investigations, officers conducted raids in both Shenzhen and Shanghai in July 2007, while at the same time US police in Los Angeles conducted 24 searches at illegal distributors.

Source: China Daily

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