Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Piracy Crime Software Your Rights Online

Chinese Man Pleads Guilty To $100M Piracy Operation 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
iComp sends word of a Chinese businessman who pleaded guilty to selling pirated software the retail value of which totaled more than $100 million. The software came from over 200 different companies, and was sold to buyers in 61 different countries over a 3-year period. The man was arrested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the island of Saipan in 2011, after undercover agents had been working on the case for 18 months (PDF). "Li trolled black market Internet forums in search of hacked software, and people with the know-how to crack the passwords needed to run the program. Then he advertised them for sale on his websites. Li transferred the pirated programs to customers by sending compressed files via Gmail, or sent them hyperlinks to download servers, officials said. ... Agents lured Li from China to the U.S. territory of Saipan under the premise of discussing a joint illicit business venture. At an island hotel, Li delivered counterfeit packaging and, prosecutors said, "Twenty gigabytes of proprietary data obtained unlawfully from an American software company." Officials did not identify the company in court documents."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Chinese Man Pleads Guilty To $100M Piracy Operation

Comments Filter:
  • A hundred million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:27AM (#42528501) Journal

    If the dude pocketed a hundred million bucks, then it's a hundred million dollar piracy operation. This sounds to me like the standard law enforcement press release inflation gambit.

    -jcr

  • by Anonymous Coward

    More like a 60,000 USD operation, which is what he made off his dealings. Retail value here has no meaning here as nothing was taken from anyone.

    • by shitzu (931108)

      Anyway. Who BUYs pirated software? His clients should be fined for stupidity.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:37AM (#42529179)

        Anyway. Who BUYs pirated software? His clients should be fined for stupidity.

        They were. They paid him for the product.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Everyone in China. You can pay 2 years salary for CS6, or get the same thing from a guy on the corner (often in an official Adobe box) for one or two day's salary.
        • by 1u3hr (530656)

          Everyone in China. You can pay 2 years salary for CS6, or get the same thing from a guy on the corner (often in an official Adobe box) for one or two day's salary.

          Or, if you don't want the box, just one DVD in a plastic bag for about $1.

      • by 1u3hr (530656)

        Anyway. Who BUYs pirated software? His clients should be fined for stupidity.

        The FBI did. Same way they pretend to be 12 year old girls in chatrooms and invite guys to meet them.

        In this case it was pretty specialised stuff, not cracked copies of Photoshop.

  • Does he solely do that piracy software or there are also other people with him when he did that black internet market? They (U.S. Department homeland security)should be more stern more in dealing this kind of black market.
  • by russsell (185151) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:41AM (#42528607)

    I hazard a guess that the cost of this operation was less than the amount of tax that the US company paid that year.

  • Was it oracle and the range-check function?

    ;>)
    .
    Slashdot covered this earlier in the year [slashdot.org] with a judge saying that a high-schooler could write the range-check code from scratch with no difficulty. Yet Oracle was suing for millions for nine lines of code that checks and validates the input matching the expected range of values.
    .
    If these court cases can hide what exactly the person is charged with doing wrong and illegally, then how can we even know if there is a potential miscarriage of justice?
    • by Acapulco (1289274)

      ...then how can we even know if there is a potential miscarriage of justice?

      I don't think we can or ever will... even if I hope we do.

  • That is the moral of the story. If you get something for nothing then share it for nothing. Profiting from anothers work may be a crime, but freely sharing what you have with others is not, and is certainly in sync with the most followed world religions.

    • by Acapulco (1289274)

      If you get something for nothing then share it for nothing. Profiting from anothers work may be a crime, but freely sharing what you have with others is not, and is certainly in sync with the most followed world religions.

      I believe there is enought evidence that this is not the case, as the RIAA/MPAA have been so thoughtful in constatnlty reminding us.

    • by Warhawke (1312723)

      Not to derail, since I completely agree, but it's worth pointing out that typical "free-sharing piracy" is not "sharing what you have."

      Although you might think you have a tangible copy of a song or movie sitting on your hard drive, what you really have (assuming you obtained it legally) is a license to use that song according to 1) the EULA, if there is one, and 2) the copyright law of your respective country. What you don't have is a license or freedom to upload and share the file with the rest of the wor

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Nobody has been (as far as I know) sued for sharing music they "owned" The only ones that hit the courts are the people re-sharing something they had no rights to have in the first place. And they sue uploaders in "downloading" lawsuits. The PR is lying to us. It takes a lawyer to understand who's really suing who and for what. The point being they want to make people think that downloading a movie or sharing a movie you "own" will land you in jail or bankruptcy. And our tax dollars are paying for the
        • by Warhawke (1312723)

          IANAL (law student), but just because the record companies have not sued (at least with excessive publicity) the general public for sharing music to which they had license does not make it presumptively legal. It's just a whole lot harder to prove than obvious downloading and infringement, so it's easier to create a chilling effect based on the simple cases. Although not as popular in p2p / torrent cases, this is the basis of "public performance" violations where ASCAP/BMI can sue business owners for plug

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            IANAL (law student), but just because the record companies have not sued (at least with excessive publicity) the general public for sharing music to which they had license does not make it presumptively legal.

            It makes it presumptively illegal, but de facto legal. If your actions are never prosecuted, even though known to the authorities, then your actions are legal. Much like the laws from the 1800s about stupid stuff (illegal to mispronounce Arkansas in Arkansas, or carry wire cutters in your back pocket in Texas) are so unenforced as to be legal. In fact, the courts have indicated that a law unenforced long enough has been repealed because enforcing it again would be, de facto unconstitutionallly unfair (in

            • by Warhawke (1312723)

              You're welcome to assume, but you would still be wrong. Check out A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2001), and the UMG Recordings case cited therein:

              We conclude that the district court did not err when it refused to apply the “shifting” analyses of Sony and Diamond. Both Diamond and Sony are inapposite because the methods of shifting in these cases did not also simultaneously involve distribution of the copyrighted material to the general public; the time or space-shifting of copyrighted material exposed the material only to the original user. In Diamond, for example, the copyrighted music was transferred from the user's computer hard drive to the user's portable MP3 player. So too Sony, where “the majority of VCR purchasers ... did not distribute taped television broadcasts, but merely enjoyed them at home.” Napster, 114 F.Supp.2d at 913. Conversely, it is obvious that once a user lists a copy of music he already owns on the Napster system in order to access the music from another location, the song becomes “available to millions of other individuals,” not just the original CD owner. See UMG Recordings, 92 F.Supp.2d at 351–52 (finding space-shifting of MP3 files not a fair use even when previous ownership is demonstrated before a download is allowed); cf. Religious Tech. Ctr. v. Lerma, No. 95–1107A, 1996 WL 633131, at *6 (E.D.Va. Oct.4, 1996) (suggesting that storing copyrighted material on computer disk for later review is not a fair use).

              Nor is your assertion that archaic laws are overturned when not enforced. You could in fact bring up any of the laws still on the books; they would just be overturned and are considered to be a waste of taxpayer money to bring a case on them, so no one does. If a law is on the books and has not been repealed, it is still valid.

              • by AK Marc (707885)
                Did you not read my last sentence? It was the "exception" where they do go after sites that allow it. They take down Megaupload, but how many suits have they (anybody) filed against megaupload users? None? Yes, I'm aware the RIAA/MPAA are demanding data be retained for future actions against users, but no user suits yet.

                They just take the easy target, and lie about it to scare everyone else.

                Anyone who owned the CD but downloaded a copy had the charges dropped because the RIAA didn't want the law tes
  • by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:13AM (#42528743)

    "Li trolled black market Internet forums"

    Maybe the forum members got disgusted by his posts, and so reported him to the Feds. Seriously, I didn't know till I checked my edictionary that "troll" had the pre-Internet non-mythical meaning of "circulate, move around".

    • by Maow (620678)

      "Li trolled black market Internet forums"

      Maybe the forum members got disgusted by his posts, and so reported him to the Feds. Seriously, I didn't know till I checked my edictionary that "troll" had the pre-Internet non-mythical meaning of "circulate, move around".

      I think that "trolling" in this instance, and when people are looking to incite comments in Internet forums, comes from this definition (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolling_%28fishing%29 [wikipedia.org]):

      Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water.

      Sounds like a reasonable analogy for what the guy was (probably) doing. Posting comments about cheap software to see if anyone would (bite|buy).

  • Arms wide open (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheDarkener (198348) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:31AM (#42528847)

    'The man was arrested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the island of Saipan'

    So lemme get this straight - the Department of Homeland Security spent taxpayer money finding and arresting a software pirate...

    • They arrested a bootlegger. Pirates sail the high sees looking for booty to plunder. Infringing on copyrights involves downloading or sharing copyrighted work with others. Bootlegging involves copyright infringement in order to make copies for sale for profit. Piracy is a criminal offense as it often involves rape and murder. Copyright infringement is a civil offense that the MAFIAA somehow managed to convince the US government to treat like a criminal offense, even though it's definitely not. Bootlegging i

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        But how is selling a bootleg in China, copied in China, printed in China, and paid for in Chinese money by two people who have never left China a US crime under US jurisdiction?
        • by dissy (172727)

          But how is selling a bootleg in China, copied in China, printed in China, and paid for in Chinese money by two people who have never left China a US crime under US jurisdiction?

          Dunno. Why do you ask?

          I especially wonder why you ask when the article you asked in is about a Chinese man who left China and was in a US territory breaking US laws (as dumb as those laws can be at times)
          Post to the wrong article again?

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            They didn't charge him with the fake entrapment acts used to lure him out, but the ones he previously committed in China (or else the press releases by the feds are all lies to smear him in the media and distract from the illegal entrapment).
        • Didn't you get the memo? The whole world is the US' jurisdiction. Has been since WW2

        • It's not, but offering to sell someone a bootleg copied in China and printed in China after you've landed on US territory with the goods in hand pretty likely is.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            Not if you were invited there by the police for that purpose. Ever hear of entrapment? The report read like they charged him with crimes committed in China, not uncommitted crimes in Saipan he was only doing because he was told to by the US federal government.
      • by cpghost (719344)

        Copyright infringement is a civil offense that the MAFIAA somehow managed to convince the US government to treat like a criminal offense, even though it's definitely not.

        I dunno. If they send people for up to 5 years to federal jail for copyright infringement, it looks to me like they've upgraded copyright infringement from a civil to a criminal activity. By the way, in many countries, copyright infringement is now criminal offense, thanks to the intense lobbying and arm twisting of the US government. It'

    • by westlake (615356)

      So lemme get this straight - the Department of Homeland Security spent taxpayer money finding and arresting a software pirate...

      The DHS includes almost all law enforcement agencies in the federal government --- including para-military organizations like the Coast Guard. The software pirate who breaks federal laws is a legitimate object of pursuit. He will be charged and he will be convicted. It happens all the time.

  • by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:40AM (#42528901)
    Since when Homeland Security has started investigating something as trivial as copyright violation, even on a grand scale? Aren't they supposed to deal with terrorism, natural disasters and more serious threats to life and property? Wouldn't this be the competence of the FBI instead? And what jurisdiction do the US have over this man, as the crimes committed in China?
    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Since Customs was one of the initial departments of DHS. Though, why US Customs cares about items that never left or entered the US, I can't tell you.
  • Do you think it would be possible to get him to plead guilty to ALL of the world's piracy? I mean, If I'm ever looking down the barell of the *AA's guns and expect to be found guilty, then I'm going down Like Spock: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Who wouldn't want to become the modern day version of, Jesus?!

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:18AM (#42529089) Journal
    Seriously, this is INSANE. First off, MS and the other companies go to great lengths to NOT pay their fair share of taxes. And if a nation attempts to have the companies and wealthy from these pay their fair share, they threaten to go elsewhere.
    Then to add injury to insult, Gates had MS Windows cost less than $5 to buy in the store in China, while here, they take in $200-1000. And they actually pay MORE taxes in China than in America. INSANE.

    BUT, I look at the likes of Bill Gates and Balmer, who have invested into companies that basically steal IP from America and are now hard at work shipping it out. For example, Bill gates wants to develop his nuke idea in China rather than in America. But, China has ZERO intention of protecting his IP. In fact, they will use it for their own purposes and like Germany's transrapid, buy one and then steal all of the tech.

    Seriously, the west needs to quit providing companies like this with help, when they constantly screw over the nation. HP, Dell, IBM, GE, etc should be allowed to take up the theft with China, rather than having us solve their issues.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      The really insane part is that you can not go to China, buy a couple hundred copies (at $5 retail price), carry them to the US, and sell them here (at say $100 a pop). Fully legal copies, original packing, original license key, etc. Somehow they suddenly lose validity it seems. And somehow if it is for own use (e.g. people carrying laptops with a copy of Windows on it) there is no problem. It's just weird.

  • A bright, handsome young man joined our Mensa computer group in the early 80s. We were mostly hackers and programmers and we swapped a lot of software. Just curiosity; we'd run a program a few times to see how it worked. We'd disassemble it to figure out how the clever parts were done. And we'd move on to the next batch of software at next months meeting.

    The young man seemed to come from nowhere and was instantly very popular. After a while I discovered he was printing labels for his 5" floppy disks and sel

  • is that there appears to be little or no effort by the Chinese government at stopping piracy of software. Sure, on occasion you here about Chinese authorities making busts but my guess is these are mostly politically motivated. The Chinese are known for acts of piracy and disregard for copyright law.
    • I wouldn't surprised if the operation is actually supported by the Chinese government.... look at what kind of software is being mentioned in this article.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @09:00AM (#42530763) Journal
    I know there is a strong resentment of the heavy handed tactics by MPAA and RIAA and various other copyright extortion rackets. In slashdot this has created some sympathy for anyone accused of piracy. But this is different folks.

    This guy is not pirating DVDs that sell at 10$ a pop. The software mentioned in the document, Ansoft Designer, Ansoft HFSS, Ansoft SIWave, Ansys Multiphysics etc sell at USD 50K down + 10K a year typically. The R&D content of these products are measured in man-decades. Even the entry level developer positions in such companies require a Masters in a STEM field. Computer aided design tool making companies like Ansys, Ansoft, Fluent, Abacus, *CCM++ are the last few companies that pay decent wages for American ^H^H^H^H STEM grads from American univs. It is not fair to club these companies with RIAA and MPAA and paint them all with a broad brush.

    Piracy of these software bleeds these companies and actually hurt earning potentials of nerds in America. These companies are places where it is cool to be a nerd. They treat their employees well because PhDs do not work to the drum beat of a slave driver. You have to convince them to be productive voluntarily.

    • Not to mention the potential military application of some of these software... no wonder why DHS was involved.

      Being that said:

      "PhDs do not work to the drum beat of a slave driver. "

      And to the eye's of a normal MBA, this is same as "laziness". It does take some extraordinary management skills to activate these people, at least for STEM PhD's are concerned. Liberal Arts PhD's are much easier to motivate, they willing to do a lot for cheap.

    • by sFurbo (1361249)

      Piracy of these software bleeds these companies and actually hurt earning potentials of nerds in America

      Only if the piracy has a negative effect on the income of the companies. How many of the pirate's customers would have payed 50k for the software if they hadn't been able to buy it cheap?

  • if he was HSBC.

  • That's how it works, right?

FORTH IF HONK THEN

Working...