Software 'pirate' pleads guilty to charges

A California man who operated a software piracy site faces 10 years in prison after pleading guility to U.S. federal copyright violations.

A California man who operated a Web site selling millions of dollars of pirated software has pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

Nathan Peterson, 26, of Antelope Acres, California, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. Peterson was owner of iBackups.net, "the largest for-profit software piracy site ever shut down by law enforcement," U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty of the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement.

Peterson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a US$500,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14. Including restitution of US$5.4 million, the penalties may be the highest ever imposed on a software pirate, said the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). The trade group alerted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2003 of possible copyright violations at iBackups.

Peterson's Web site was responsible for close to US$20 million taken away from software vendors, the DOJ said. Peterson told customers that software sold on iBackups was legal "backup software" to protect against computer crashes, SIIA said.

The iBackups site, distributing products via downloads or mail, sold software "substantially below" suggested retail prices from companies such as Adobe Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec, the DOJ said.

Law enforcement authorities shut down iBackups in February, and the site now tells visitors it was shuttered by the FBI and DOJ. The site started operating in 2003 and advertised its products over the Internet, SIIA said.

Peterson used iBackups to fund an "extravagant lifestyle," including purchases of multiple homes, cars and a boat, the DOJ said. The government seized numerous assets from Peterson, including a restored 1949 Mercury Coupe vehicle purchased for US$44,000, a 2005 Dodge Ram, a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2004 Toyota Camry, a 2005 Toyota Corolla, and a 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class bought for US$125,000.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?