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Chinese 'Tomato Garden' software pirates get jail terms

Sumner Lemon | Aug. 24, 2009
Court also levies fines on four people convicted of copyright infringement in the case

SINGAPORE, 21 AUGUST 2009 - A Chinese court has sentenced four people to jail for pirating Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, China's state-owned media reported on Friday.

The four people were convicted of copyright infringement on Thursday for selling a modified version of Windows XP, called Tomato Garden, which was downloaded by 10 million people, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported on its Web site.

Tomato Garden stripped out anti-piracy protections built into Windows XP, it said.

The heaviest penalties in the case were levied against Hong Lei, the chief developer and distributor of the software, and Sun Xiansheng, who managed the online marketing efforts for Tomato Garden, the report said. Both were given three and a half year sentences and a 1 million (US$146,150) yuan fine.

Two others -- Liang Chaoyong and Zhang Tianping -- were given two-year sentences and fined 100,000 yuan.

Chengdu Share Software Net Science and Technology, the company that operated the Tomato Garden Web site, was also convicted in the case. The court confiscated earnings of 2.9 million yuan from the company and fined it an additional 8.7 million yuan -- equal to three times the amount it earned from sales of the software, consulting company Marbridge Research said, citing a local media report.

 

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