Software Pirate Receives Record Prison Sentence

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 3:35 pm

Today, Nathan Peterson, owner and operator of iBackups, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA to more than 7 years in prison and he forfeited nearly all of his assets to the Court. This is the longest sentence ever given for software piracy — the average sentence over the past six years has been 22 months.

Peterson has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $5,402,448. He will begin paying off the remaining $5 million in damages 60 days after his release from prison, at the rate of $200 per month. Peterson pled guilty last December to two counts of criminal copyright infringement for illegally copying and selling nearly $20 million worth of computer software.

To put Peterson’s sentence in perspective, in criminal piracy cases, the average damages resulting from pirated software are just over $9 million, or less than half of the $20 million caused by iBackups. Additionally, the $5.4 million Peterson agreed to pay in restitution is eight times the average fine of $659,000. This data is the result of a recent Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) study tracking FBI cases on software piracy reported since 2000.

iBackups sold pirated software over the Internet, claiming it was “backup software” — legal copies of software to be used by the software licensee for backup in case of system crashes. It is, however, illegal to resell such copies.

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