The owner of a “massive” for-profit software piracy website has been jailed for over seven years (87 months) in the US.
Nathan Peterson, 27, of California, was also ordered by the court to forfeit the proceeds of his illegal conduct and pay restitution of more than $5.4m (£3m).
The forfeiture involves a wide array of assets, including homes, numerous cars, and a boat, which Peterson had purchased with the profits from his illegal enterprise.
The sentence is the second recent major prison sentence received for software piracy handed out in the US.
In August, Danny Ferrer, 37, the operator of www.BuysUSA.com, received a six-year prison sentence.
The US Department of Justice said Peterson was believed to be the most prolific on-line commercial distributor of pirated software ever convicted in the US.
Beginning in 2003, and continuing until its shutdown by the FBI in February 2005, Peterson operated the www.ibackups.net website, which sold copies of software products that were copyrighted by companies such as Adobe Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft, Sonic Solutions and Symantec at prices substantially below the suggested retail price.
The software products purchased on Peterson’s website were reproduced and distributed either by instantaneous computer download of an electronic copy and/or by shipment through the mail on CDs.
Peterson often included a serial number that allowed the purchaser to activate and use the product.
The investigation established that, during the time of its operation, www.ibackups.net illegally sold more than $5.4m of copyrighted software.
Peterson used the proceeds to fund an extravagant lifestyle, including the purchases of multiple homes, cars, and a boat.
Peterson had pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement for selling pirated software.
While awaiting sentencing in this case, Peterson was arrested, convicted, and sentenced in California on state gun charges. He was sentenced in June to 16 months jail on those charges.
Vote for your IT greats
Who have been the most influential people in IT in the past 40 years? The greatest organisations? The best hardware and software technologies? As part of Computer Weekly’s 40th anniversary celebrations, we are asking our readers who and what has really made a difference?
Vote now at: www.computerweekly.com/ITgreats
Read more on IT risk management
A civil servant has been jailed for four and a half years after illegally using government computer systems to access the personal records of benefit...