Aussie jailed for software piracy

An Australian resident who headed the notorious DrinkOrDie software piracy gang has been jailed in the US.The British born man, Hew Griffiths, had been living in Bateau Bay before his extradition to face trial in the US earlier this year.

An Australian resident who headed the notorious DrinkOrDie software piracy gang has been jailed in the US.

The British born man, Hew Griffiths, had been living in Bateau Bay before his extradition to face trial in the US earlier this year.

Griffiths has now been sentenced to 51 months on one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. However, with the time he has already spent incarcerated in an Australian detention centre fighting extradition, only 15 months of his sentence remain, reports say.

"Whether committed with a gun or a keyboard -- theft is theft," US Attorney Rosenberg said in a statement.

When extradited in February 2007, Griffiths was initially facing a 10-year prison term and a US$500,000 fine should he have been handed down the maximum sentence by US authorities.

According to the US Department of Justice, Griffiths headed the DrinkOrDie software pirate group, founded in 1993 under his alias Bandido. The DOJ labelled DrinkOrDie "one of the oldest and most renowned Internet software piracy groups".

The pirates distributed free versions of US$50 million worth of pirated software, movies, games and music during its lifetime targeting software houses including Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Symantec and Novell.

In 2001, the group was targeted by law enforcement agencies across the world, with raids conducted in the UK, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Australia. The US operation resulted in 30 felony convictions there, as well as the conviction of 11 foreign nationals.