Six years for selling pirated software

I was slightly taken aback last night when I learned that a commercial software pirate - who made millions of dollars selling pirated software - had been handed down a prison term of six years.

The man, Danny Ferrer, of Lakeland, Florida, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy and copyright infringement charges after an FBI investigation of his Web site, BuysUSA.com.

What reveals the scale of his operation, though, is the fact that Ferrer has been ordered to pay more than $4.1 million in restitution to software makers Adobe Systems, Autodesk and Macromedia.

It actually gets quite comic, with the FBI claiming in court that Ferrer had purchased aeroplanes, a fighter-jet simulator, a helicopter, a Lamborghini, a Hummer and other luxury vehicles with his profits.

Ferrer claims that he originally started selling the pirated software to pay for a feeding tube for his sick wife, but apologised and told the judge "there was probably a certain amount of greed."

Yup, you could say that folks, although six years in clink is a bit heavy...