Yesterday, a Chinese businessman pleaded guilty to selling pirated software — used by defence, space technology and engineering businesses — worth over $US100 million. Software made by the likes of Microsoft, Oracle, Rockwell Automation, Agilent Technologies and Siemens was sold on for between $US20 and $US1200. Some of the software, however, officially retailed for more than $US1 million apiece.
A plethora of sophisticated software was stolen from an estimated 200 American manufacturers and sold onto 325 black market buyers in 61 countries between 2008 and 2011, according to a Reuters report.
The businessman, Xiang Li, of Chengdu, China, trolled black market internet forums to find the software, then advertised it on his website. US agents spent 18 months working undercover in order to finally catch Li, eventually buying software worth $US150,000 off him for just a couple of thousand dollars. He was finally lured to the US territory of Saipan from China, under the premise of discussing a dodgy joint business venture. Whoops. [Reuters]
Picture: Shutterstock/John David Bigi III