EBay Pirate Locked Down By DOJ

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An Indiana man was sentenced to over two years in prison for selling over $700,000 worth of counterfeit software on eBay, the US Department of Justice announced.

Courtney Smith, 36, of Anderson, Ind., was sentenced in US District Court to 27 months in prison, a two-year supervised release, and will face fines and restitution in excess of $7,000. That’s a pretty stiff penalty considering he only made $4,000 from the sale of pirated Rockwell Automation software.

It appears there’s a stupidity penalty worked in there, too.

Smith admitted he purchased the counterfeit software through eBay, copied it and resold it to other eBay users. The DOJ says the actual retail value of the software, with shelf prices ranging from $900 to $11,000, was more than $700,000.

“Mr. Smith exploited eBay to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit software at drastically reduced prices, thereby illegally profiting on the back of the copyright holder,” said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher, who prosecuted the case.

“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting individuals who exploit legitimate online auction sites to sell pirated software and commit other acts of fraud.”

Rockwell Automation is a provider of automation, power, control and information software, producing, among other things, specialized factory management software. This software allows for the establishment of control and visualization disciplines when dealing with factory production lines and machinery.

The case is part of the DOJ’s larger initiative to combat online auction piracy. The FBI seized numerous computers, CDs and other devices used to manufacture the counterfeit software in December 2004.

Smith admitted to investigators he knew it was illegal to sell copyrighted software and that he not only manufactured and sold the counterfeit software on eBay, but also made his own labels to place on the discs.

In sentencing, Smith forfeited the computers and other equipment used in the offense and will make restitution to Rockwell Automation in the amount of $5,200.45. U.S. District Judge Sarah Barker, of the Southern District of Indiana, also ordered Smith to pay a $2,000 fine and serve two years of supervised release upon completion of his term of incarceration.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office in Milwaukee, Wis. The case was prosecuted for the government by Trial Attorney Matthew J. Bassiur of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota of the Southern District of Indiana.

EBay Pirate Locked Down By DOJ
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