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Chinese man pleads guilty to selling pirated commercial software worth $100 million

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optical disc dvd cd pile stock 1024

A Chinese man has pleaded guilty to selling pirated media — but instead of music, movies, or copies of consumer software, he's being charged with distributing high-end commercial software that normally sold for anywhere from hundreds to over a million dollars. Reuters reports that the US Department of Homeland Security caught Li Xiang during a sting operation in June of 2011, after agents had already given him several thousand dollars in exchange for pirated copies of software like the commercial version of Satellite Tool Kit, an aerospace engineering tool.

Li sold the software online for anywhere from $20 to $1,200, a fraction of the official price; it came from 200 companies including Microsoft, Siemens, and SAP. Agents lured him to US territory to propose a join business venture, then arrested him; he was charged with selling software worth $100 million. Copyright math can be dubious, and Li disputes the number, but but in this case, the hugely high cost of buying enterprise software setups makes it more believable. Li didn't, however, seem to have actually cracked the software he sold: according to Reuters, he found copies on forums and then advertised them on his own site.