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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 (opens in new tab) and flogging it for cheap on Ebay.

He pleaded guilty on Friday (opens in new tab) 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.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.