Microsoft Scores Major Copyright Win In China Against Windows XP Pirates

Microsoft Corp. has claimed a big triumph in China, after a court in an eastern city of the country sentenced four people to up to three-and-a-half years in jail for selling pirated versions of Windows XP operating system.

In what has been referred to as the country’s biggest software piracy case by the state media, four people were found guilty of infringing copyright laws by selling the bootleg versions of Windows XP software via a website named “Tomato Garden”.

A court in Suzhou city sentenced Lie Hong, the founder of the website, along with co-defendant Sun Xianzhong, to three-and-a-half years in jail, and ordered each to pay one million yuan in damages, the court officials confirmed. The other two accomplices were sentenced two-years in prison and ordered each to pay 100,000 yuan in fines.

The court said that Hong and his partners offered free download of the software to as many as 10 million users while making huge profits via advertising.

Beijing is publicising the court verdict so as to show its seriousness in stamping out activities related to copyright infringement and safeguarding intellectual property in the country.

However, showing discontent with the efforts from Chinese authorities, the US Congressman Howard Berman said during his visit to Beijing last week, “China’s efforts to stop intellectual property theft have been weak and ineffective, heavy on tough talk but light on implementation.”

Our Comments

Good to see that China is gradually heating up to the rules of copyright and intellectual property. Let's hope that the Western world will also acknowledge the growing importance of Chinese IP. Home grown Chinese technologies like TD-SCDMA may soon compete on a global scale with existing ones.

Related Links

China jails Windows software pirates

(AFP)

China jails four for "Tomato Garden" Microsoft piracy

(Reuters)

China Court Issues Rare Piracy Penalty to Windows Copycats

(The Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft cuts down Chinese ‘Tomato Garden’

(Channel Register)

Chinese Windows XP software pirates get jail terms

(Computerworld)