WICHITA FALLS, Texas (CN) – A 28-year-old Texan who sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of pirated Adobe Systems software over the Internet faces up to 5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to copyright infringement.
James Clayton Baxter, 28, of Wichita Falls, also could be fined $250,000 at his Oct. 25 sentencing.
Customs officers began investigating in May 2007 when Adobe told them it had bought pirated software from TechKappa.com, one of several sites Baxter used. Investigators said that Baxter sold more than 90 copies of copyrighted Adobe software, for more than $66,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Baxter admitted he knew it was illegal to sell the “backup” copies, and that the government can prove his pirating cost Adobe from $400,000 to $1 million.
Baxter used at least 17 assumed business names and merchant bank accounts to process credit-card payments for software orders.
His merchant bank accounts processed 3,089 software orders for a total of $384,380, prosecutors said.
The FBI received a separate lead in 2007 from the Wichita Falls Police Department, which had dealt with Baxter selling infringing software in a 2004 investigation of credit-card abuse, and warned him he could not sell pirated software on his websites. Police executed a search warrant at Baxter’s home in October 2007 and seized computers and external storage media.
“The investigation revealed that Baxter owned and operated various websites, including Amerisoftware.com, Costfriendlysoftware.net, TechKappa.com, Ultrabackup.net, Superbuysoftware.net, and Go-E-Soft.com,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement announcing the guilty plea. “These sites, which he advertised online, offered ‘backup’ copies of software, owned by Adobe, Microsoft and Autodesk, Inc., for sale at approximately one-fifth of the manufacturer’s retail value. Baxter would also provide counterfeit product registration codes (serial numbers) that were distributed with the software so that the customer could install the software.”