Chinese Nationals Charged by U.S. With Software Piracy


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Chinese Nationals Charged With Software Piracy

Chip Chipman/Bloomberg

Signage is photographed outside the headquarters of Agilent Technologies.

Signage is photographed outside the headquarters of Agilent Technologies. Photographer: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg

Two Chinese nationals were charged
with illegally exporting technology to their home country and
pirating software from U.S. companies including Agilent
Technologies Inc. (A)
, federal officials said.

Xiang Li, 35, and Chun Yan Li, 33, a married couple from
Chengdu, China, were indicted by a federal grand jury in
Wilmington, Delaware, according to a statement today by the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“Counterfeiting and intellectual-property theft are
seriously undermining U.S. business and innovation — more than
$100 million in lost revenue in this one case alone,” John Morton, the agency’s director, said in the statement.

The couple are accused of running a website called “Crack
99” that sold copies of software the “access-control
mechanisms” of which had been circumvented, Morton said. The
pair is charged with distributing more than 500 pirated
copyrighted works to more than 300 purchasers in the U.S. and
overseas from April 2008 to June 2011. The case was unsealed
today.

The software includes programs made by Santa Clara,
California-based Agilent and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based
Ansys (ANSS) Inc., according to the indictment.

Xiang Li was arrested by federal agents in June 2011 on an
earlier indictment in the case. Chun Yan Li “remains an at-
large fugitive in Chengdu,” according to the statement.

Agilent Design Program

An Agilent product intended to speed up the design process
for electronic equipment was among the software illegally copied
by the couple, according to the indictment. The SystemVue 2009
program sells for $45,000.

Stuart Matlow, an Agilent spokesman, didn’t immediately
return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment on the
indictment.

In connection with the charges, a former National
Aeronautics and Space Administration employee has pleaded guilty
to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, the
government said.

Cosburn Wedderburn, 38, of Windsor Mill, Maryland, pleaded
guilty in federal court in Delaware today, according to court
filings. Government agents said Wedderburn bought more than
$1 million in pirated software from the couple’s website.

Wedderburn is facing a maximum sentence of five years in
prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the government’s
statement. The ex-NASA employee has agreed to testify against
the Lis as part of a plea bargain, David Hall, one of the
prosecutors assigned to the case, said in a phone interview.

Dennis E. Boyle, Wedderburn’s attorney, wasn’t immediately
available to respond to an e-mail or message left at his office
seeking comment on his client’s involvement in the case.

The case is U.S. v. Li, 10-cr-112, U.S. District Court,
District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story:
Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware
[email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Michael Hytha at [email protected]

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