A London-based man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for software piracy following an investigation aided by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
Twenty-three-year-old Bilal Khan, who was also ordered to pay £15,000 costs, was found guilty of selling pirated copies of software using online auction sites such as eBay and a network of websites. Khan’s counterfeit racket is believed to have netted him at least £4,500 a month.
The investigation was begun by Lewisham Trading Standards department after a tip off from a disgruntled customer. Khan was originally tried for the offences at Greenwich Crown Court, following a raid on his house in 2000, but he jumped bail and fled to Pakistan. He was re-arrested on a visit to England.
The court heard that as well as selling counterfeit goods the defendant also withheld orders. Khan used a string of aliases to sell the illegal software, including that of an unsatisfied customer who had attempted to take him to the small claims court.
Peter Szyszko, of BSA’s legal team, described Khan as a "sophisticated individual" who was highly adept at giving law enforcers the slip.
"We’re delighted with this result - it sends a strong message out to the pirate community," said Szyszko. "I would say the judge took the correct action and handed down a sentence that was appropriate for the crime."
Gavin Moore, the deputy mayor of Lewisham Council, also welcomed the ruling. "We hope that this case will go some way in deterring those who carry out similar activities," he said.