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February 18, 2010

Boston, MA... A California man was sentenced on February 16, 2010 to six months in prison for running a business in which he sold illegally copied software via the Internet.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division, announced today that MARK PTASHNE, age 51, of Winchester, California, was sentenced on February 16, 2010 before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf to six months in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release, ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and forfeit $26,700. PTASHNE had pled guilty earlier to a one-count Information charging him with criminal copyright infringement.

At his August, 2009 change of plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have shown that from 2001 to 2007, PTASHNE sold software programs at far below the retail price. PTASHNE had not bought this software from the manufacturers or through any legitimate channels but rather had illegally downloaded the software from websites or obtained it from other individuals. The software PTASHNE sold was all “cracked” – meaning that the security devices the manufacturers used to prevent people from illegally copying the software had been broken or circumvented. PTASHNE downloaded and offered for sale more than 3,000 cracked software programs, which had a combined retail value of more than $2 million.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder in Ortiz’s Computer Crimes Unit.


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