Software Pirate Found Guilty of Stealing $100 Million in Goods

Chinese national Xiang Li has pled guilty in U.S. federal court to pirating, cracking and selling software worth more than $100 million.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security arrested Li during June of 2011 after agents discovered he was leading a pirating ring that sold stolen software on the internet.

The software, which was predominately utilized by defense, space, and engineering companies, belonged to several technology firms including Microsoft, Oracle, Rockwell Automation, Agilent Technologies, Siemens, among hundreds of others.

"Li thought he was safe from the long arm of U.S. law enforcement, hiding halfway around the world in cyberspace anonymity. He was sorely mistaken," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Director John Morton had said during 2012. "Whether in China or cyberspace, this arrest is proof that Homeland Security Investigations and our partners at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center are committed to identifying, infiltrating and disrupting these criminal enterprises wherever they exist."

Li stole the software from around 200 U.S. manufacturers, subsequently selling them in 61 different countries on websites owned by the software pirate, including crack99.com. He ran the piracy ring from 2008 to 2011.

Although he had sold it for considerably less, prosecutors said the retail value of what Li stole equaled more than $100 million. U.S. agents worked undercover for 18 months in order to catch Li; they purchased thousands of dollars of software from him, which had an equivalent value of $150,000.

Under the premise of a joint illegal business venture, agents arrested Li by arranging to meet with him in the island of Saipan. He was initially charged with 46 criminal counts; however, he ultimately plead guilty to two single counts of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright violations and wire fraud.

Either way, Li, who is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3, faces up to 20 years in federal prison, as well as a $500,000 fine. Elsewhere, an illegal file-sharer in the U.S. was recently handed a record prison sentence: 5 years.

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  • Software Pirate Found Guilty of -snip- COPYING $100 Million in Goods

    Fixed for ya there
    19
  • Agreed, $100 Million is some b$ estimate to gain publicity. What were the actual monetary losses by the companies? Would the people buying the pirated software actually have paid the absurdly high prices for legit software? This is hard to demonstrate.
    18
  • flamethrower205Agreed, $100 Million is some b$ estimate to gain publicity. What were the actual monetary losses by the companies? Would the people buying the pirated software actually have paid the absurdly high prices for legit software? This is hard to demonstrate.


    Enterprise software and CAD/Engineering software is extremely expensive. They often have embedded 'phone home' code that is used to track exactly how many people are using unauthorized copies.

    This is not an article about 15 year old kids playing pirated copies of Skyrim (although I still say that is wrong), this is an article about companies using software to enrich themselves without paying for it.

    Companies like those mentioned in the article spend millions of dollars optimizing and fine tuning software for very small and specific markets and customer use cases. When others profit from that without paying for it, it has a very real impact on their bottom line.
    18
  • Other Comments
  • Software Pirate Found Guilty of -snip- COPYING $100 Million in Goods

    Fixed for ya there
    19
  • Agreed, $100 Million is some b$ estimate to gain publicity. What were the actual monetary losses by the companies? Would the people buying the pirated software actually have paid the absurdly high prices for legit software? This is hard to demonstrate.
    18
  • They equate this as if he literally took a possession and now that owner is now lost of his item - when in reality they're not.

    I understand they're protecting your idea and you cannot just have it without paying legally for it - but threatening 20 years in prison over this petty shit?

    Why do they stop there - why not just shoot him? Kick down the door and put a .44 to his head. I think the mercy killing is more humane than going to prison for 20 years.
    11