Working together, the FBI and authorities in the People’s Republic of China have broken a major pirate software ring, bagging more than half a million dollars’ worth of counterfeit software. The joint operation, code-named Summer Solstice, and the largest of its kind, began in 2005. It’s resulted in the arrest of 25 people, the seizure of Chinese assets worth $7 million, and the seizure of 290,000 counterfeit software CDs and certificates of authenticity with an estimated retail value of $500 million in Guangdong province. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Los Angeles office of the FBI found American distributors with $2 million worth of fake product and assets worth $700,000. The counterfeiters had been targeting products by Symantec and Microsoft, including Windows XP and Vista. “This case represents a milestone in the fight against software piracy — governments, law enforcement agencies and private companies working together with customers and software resellers to break up a massive international counterfeiting ring,” said Brad Smith, general counsel and senior vice president at Microsoft, expressing appreciation to the Chinese Public Security Bureau. “This case should serve as a wake-up call to counterfeiters: Customers around the world are turning you in, governments and law enforcement have had enough and private companies will act decisively to protect intellectual property.” China has been a hotbed for software privacy, an industry worth about $40 billion last year alone.
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