Business

Texas Man Sentenced for Selling Pirated Software Online

A 24-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling more than US$1 million worth of pirated software online, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Todd Alan Cook, of Wichita Falls, Texas, was also ordered during sentencing Friday by Judge T.S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to pay $599,771 in restitution. Cook pleaded guilty on March 11 to criminal copyright infringement.

From July 2006 to May 2008, Cook, his father Robert D. Cook and another person operated several websites that sold large amounts of counterfeit software, the DOJ said in a press release. Much of the counterfeit software sold was from Adobe Systems, including versions of Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat, according to court documents.

The websites they operated, including Econo-soft.com and Bargainsoftwaredownload.com, were hosted by Yahoo, and the Cooks advertised their products through Google, according to court documents. The Cooks used Paypal, Google Checkout and other services to process payments.

Federal agents purchased software from the Cooks' websites in May and October 2007, according to court documents.

Yahoo sent the pair a cease-and-desist order, telling them to stop selling pirated software, in April 2008, court documents said. Days later, the Cooks created a new website to sell pirated software, and a federal agent in Virginia purchased Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium from the website in mid-May.

Robert Cook pleaded guilty on March 11 to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and is scheduled to be on Dec. 3.

The case is part of an ongoing DOJ initiative to combat online counterfeiting and piracy.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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