British Ebayer faces jail time for piracy

A Briton faces the prospects of spending a decade in prison after pleading guilty to pirating a little known Computer Aided Design (CAD) software by Acecad called Strucad and flogging it for cheap on Ebay.

He pleaded guilty on Friday to charges under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Trade Marks Act 1994, and will be sentenced on 1 February.

The application, which is widely used in the structural steel industry, costs around up to GBP 20,000 per copy but Michael Walton from Derby charged GBP 12 to Ebayers who illegally purchased the copies online.

It was only when Paul Bettany, one of AceCad's sales consultants, stumbled on the copies while doing a personal Ebay search that Walton's endeavours ended.

The consultant then alerted Derby City Council's trading standards department who promptly raided Walton's home and discovered a number of evidence including a computer and more than 300 pirated CDROMs.

It is unknown whether the purchasers of the illegal copies will be named and shamed.