Chinese Court Sentences Microsoft Pirates
11 jailed for counterfeit software ring with 'unprecedented' scope
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2008 9:59 AM CST
Windows XP was one of the lines of Microsoft software illegally distributed by Chinese counterfeiters. In the US, the fakes fetched relatively high prices.   (AP Photo/Microsoft, file)
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(Newser) – A Chinese court has convicted 11 people of violating copyright laws and sentenced them to as much as 6 1/2  years of prison for working with a counterfeiting ring that sold fake Microsoft products around the world. Microsoft hailed the crackdown on the pirates, whose organization may have made $2 billion, the New York Times reports.

The highly convincing phony software, which included Windows XP and Office, was created in several languages and distributed to 36 countries in an operation a Microsoft attorney calls "absolutely unprecedented." It's unclear whether the defendants were the ringleaders of the sophisticated operation; in another trial in Shanghai, nine other suspects face similar charges.