China jails software pirate for 3.5 years

China jails software pirate for 3.5 years

Monday, 24 August 2009, 01:49 Hrs
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Suzhou: China has sentenced a man to three and a half years in jail for software piracy in the country's biggest copyright infringement case, a media report said Friday.

Hong Lei, maker of China's most popular pirated edition of Windows XP, was sentenced to three and a half years in jail Thursday in the eastern Suzhou City, the news portal subaonet.com reported.

Hong was also fined one million yuan ($146,400) by the People's Court in Suzhou.

To create the pirated Tomato Garden Windows XP, Hong disabled the authentication and certification process.

Hong and his partners offered free downloads of the Windows XP Tomato Garden Edition to at least 10 million users and made profits from advertisements.

Hong's partner, Sun Xianzhong, received the same sentence. Another two people were sentenced to two years in prison and each was fined 100,000 yuan.

The Chengdu Gongruan Networking Technology Co. Ltd., which ran the download website, had its income of 2.92 million yuan confiscated and was fined 8.77 million yuan.

Microsoft said it was grateful to the Chinese government and its law enforcement agencies for their efforts in cracking down on software pirates, said Liu Fengming, vice president of Microsoft in China.

The verdict showed China's determination in combating piracy and protecting intellectual property rights, said Liu.

Hong set up the tomatolei.com site in 2004 and created the Tomato Garden version of the Windows XP, which soon became one of China's most popular pirated software system.

In June last year, the Business Software Alliance, of which Microsoft is a member, complained to China's National Copyright Administration and the Ministry of Public Security about the copyright infringement of Hong's team.

Hong and his partners were arrested between August and December last year.

Fan Yong, lawyer of Gongruan Networking Co. Ltd., told Xinhua that his client will decide whether to appeal to Suzhou Intermediate People's Court within 10 days.
Source: IANS
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