A British man who broke the encryption code on the AceCad software, widely used in the structural steel industry, then sold pirated copies, has pleaded guiltyto the offense and is looking at 10 years in jail, ZDNet has reported. After pleading guilty tooffenses under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Trade Marks Act 1994, Michael Walton from Derby will be sentenced at the beginning of next month, and could face up to 10 years injail. The specialized software generally sells for thousands of dollars, but once Walton had cracked it, he put his pirated copies up for sale on – where else? – eBay for $24. The only reason anyone discovered his crime was because an AceCad employee happened to look on eBay for a gift for his girlfriend. "Wecan’t stand for things like this. International pop stars might be able to afford people copying their work but we can’t," Wayne Rawson, director and general manager of AceCad, told the Derby Evening Telegraph. "We’re lucky in that we managed to stop this before too many copies had been sold but, if it had carried on, we could havepotentially lost a fortune."
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