Society

Naveed Sheikh Gets 7+ Years In Prison For Software Piracy

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A Baltimore man has been sentenced to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release for copyright infringement and illegally reproducing and distributing over 1,000 copyrighted commercial software programs. U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett also issued an order requiring Naveed Sheikh, 32, to give up $4 million, the value of the copyrighted programs.

Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations announced the sentence.

“Copyright infringement is not a victimless crime,” Agent Winter said. “Intellectual property theft costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars each year and accounts for the loss of American jobs and innovation. HSI will continue working with our law enforcement and private industry partners to pursue criminal organizations that are engaged in this type of illegal activity.”

Sheik was arrested at Dulles Airport in January 2012 as he was attempting to re-enter the U.S. after fleeing to Pakistan. When Sheikh was arrested, he was carrying electronic media containing evidence that he was responsible for the sales of pirated software.

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The copyrighted works copied and sold illegally included: Microsoft Office, Microsoft Money 2006 Small Business, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects Pro 7.0, Veritas NetBackUp Pro 5.1, Solid Works Office 2000 Premium, Quicken Premier Home and Business 2006, Apple Mac OSX Panther 10.3 and Microsoft Windows XP Professional with SP2, FBI.gov reported.

Sheikh entered a guilty plea admitting that from February 2003 to June 2008, he worked with and compensated co-conspirators, obtained infringing copies of software and generally organized the conspiracy. He apparently told his customers that the software programs he was selling were “cracked” versions and that they could not be registered. Sheikh rented server space in Pennsylvania to host the websites he created to advertise the pirated software and often used workers who were located overseas to assist with overnight projects.

Sources: FBI.gov, Forbes