• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Website Operator Pleads Guilty to Piracy

Jun 19, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security’s owner pleaded guilty to selling nearly US$20 million worth of pirated software through the mail, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) said Friday.

The website sold more than $2.47 million of copyrighted software, resulting in potential losses of nearly $20 million to the software developers, the DoJ said.

Danny Ferrer, 37, of Lakeland, Fla., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy and one count of criminal copyright infringement.

Ferrer, who is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 25, could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Ferrer also agreed to forfeit numerous airplanes, a helicopter, boats and cars purchased with the profits from the website. The forfeited property includes two Cessna airplanes, a RotorWay International helicopter, a 2005 Hummer, a 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, two 2005 Chevrolet Corvettes, a 2005 Lincoln Navigator, an IGATE G500 LE Flight Simulator, a 1984 28-foot Marinette boat and an ambulance.

The DoJ called Ferrer “one of the largest commercial online distributors of pirated software” in the United States.

From late 2002 to October 2005, Ferrer and other people operated and sold illegal copies of copyrighted software from companies such as Adobe Systems and Macromedia, the DoJ said. The website sold the software at prices substantially below the suggested retail price, DoJ said.

The software was reproduced on CDs and distributed through the mail, and the website included a serial number that allowed the purchaser to activate and use the product, the DoJ said.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down in October 2005.

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— Grant Gross, IDG News Service (Washington Bureau)