Texas man gets prison time for software copyright infringement

The defendant sold supposed backup copies of Adobe, Microsoft and Autodesk software through multiple websites, ICE says

A Texas man who sold supposed backup copies of Adobe Systems, Microsoft and Autodesk software through multiple websites has been sentenced to serve nearly five years in prison and ordered to pay more than US$402,000 in restitution, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have announced.

James Clayton Baxter, 28 of Wichita Falls, was sentenced on Tuesday to 57 months in prison by Judge Reed O'Connor of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the agencies said.

"This sentence is part of the ongoing message to potential counterfeiters that there are serious consequences for copyright infringement," David Marwell, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations Dallas, said in a statement.

Baxter's lawyer wasn't immediately available for comment.

Baxter offered copies of Adobe software for sale in the mid-2000s, ICE said in a press release. ICE's investigators were contacted in May 2007 by Adobe investigators, who said they had purchased and downloaded infringing software from TechKappa.com, the agency said.

Also in 2007, the FBI received a separate lead from the Wichita Falls Police Department regarding Baxter's involvement in selling pirated software, ICE said. The police department warned Baxter in 2004 about selling pirated software while investigating him for credit card abuse, the agency said.

The police department searched Baxter's residence in October 2007 and seized computers and storage media, ICE said.

Law enforcement officials found that Baxter operated several websites, including Amerisoftware.com, Costfriendlysoftware.net, Ultrabackup.net, and Superbuysoftware.net, ICE said. Through the sites, he offered "backup" software of titles marketed by Adobe, Microsoft and Autodesk for about one-fifth of the retail price, the agency said. Baxter also provided counterfeit product registration codes.

Between June 2006 and April 2007, Baxter sold more than 90 infringing copies of Adobe software for more than $66,000, ICE said.

Between 2004 and 2007, Baxter sold more than $384,000 worth of software, in more than 3,000 transactions through 17 businesses he set up, ICE said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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