Copyright Crime and Punishment

The FBI and Customs have both recently gained high profile convictions of software pirates. In September, the FBI gained the conviction of 27 year-old Nathan L. Peterson, described by them as “the most prolific online commercial distributor of pirated software ever convicted in the United States.”

The owner of a massive for-profit software piracy Web site was sentenced in federal court to 87 months in prison. Peterson, of Antelope Acres, Calif. was also ordered to forfeit the proceeds of his illegal conduct and pay restitution of more than $5.4 million. The sentence is the second recent major prison sentence received for software piracy. In August 2006, Danny Ferrer, 37, the operator of, received a six- year prison sentence.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Cybercrime Center gained its twelfth conviction from a 15-month investigation called Operation Safehaven. Eli El pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement for his participation in the distribution of approximately 20,000 copyright works over the Internet through the warez scene – an underground online community of individuals and organized groups who use the Internet to engage in the large-scale, illegal distribution of copyrighted software.

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