Man gets 7 years for software piracy

Web site owner receives the longest sentence ever handed down for illegally copying and selling software.

The owner of a software piracy Web site has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison--the longest sentence ever handed down for software piracy.

Nathan Peterson, 27, of Los Angeles, sold copyrighted software at a huge discount on his site, iBackups.net, prosecutors said. The FBI began investigating the site in 2003 and shut it down in February 2005.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III on Friday ordered Peterson to pay restitution of more than $5.4 million. Peterson pleaded guilty in December in Alexandria, Va., to two counts of copyright infringement for illegally copying and selling more than $20 million in software.

Justice Department and industry officials called the case one of the largest involving Internet software piracy ever prosecuted.

Last month, Ellis sentenced Danny Ferrer, a Florida man who pleaded guilty to copyright charges in connection with multimillion-dollar sales of pirated software, to six years in prison.

Software piracy resulted in a loss of $34 billion worldwide in 2005, a $1.6 billion increase over 2004, according to a study commissioned by the Business Software Alliance.

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