Woman gets nine years on pirate software rap

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Woman gets nine years on pirate software rap

A 52-year-old Taiwanese woman who pleaded no contest in one of the US' largest software piracy cases was sentenced to nine years in prison last week.

Lisa Chen was arrested along with three associates in November 2001 after local sheriffs seized hundreds of thousands of copies of pirated software worth more than $75m (£48.1m) that Chen and her associates were believed to have smuggled into the country from Taiwan.

Symantec, whose software was involved in the smuggling operation, later put the value of the software at $98m.

The pirated software included copies of Microsoft's Windows XP operating, Office 2000 desktop software and Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software.

The forgeries were said to be of high quality and came with professionally printed packaging as well as manuals, user licence agreements, decals and bar codes.

Chen was apprehended when she drove up to a warehouse that police were searching for evidence. The car she was driving was filled with copies of counterfeited software, according to reports.

Law enforcement officials described Chen as a "manager" in the smuggling operation, responsible for distributing the pirated software and collecting payments from customers.

Chen and her associates were said to have been importing pirated software from Taiwan to the US since 1998.

In August, Chen pleaded no contest to one count of failure to disclose the origin of a recording or product. In return for her plea, Chen was guaranteed a prison sentence of no more than nine years.

In addition to her prison sentence, Chen will have to pay $11m (£7.07m) in additional restitution to Microsoft and Symantec.

Symantec released a statement expressing satisfaction with the ruling and warning of the dangers of buying and using pirated software.

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