Violating a copyright is no small matter.
A Baltimore man found that out recently when he was sentenced to 87 months - more than 7 years - in federal prison for violating copyright laws.
Naveed Sheikh, 29, was not your ordinary copyright infringer. He didn't copy a page or two from a book, or burn an occasional unauthorized CD. Rather, over a 5 year period, he copied more than 1,000 of the most popular software packages and sold them on the Internet for something in the range of $4 million. As part of his sentence, Sheikh was also ordered to pay back the $4 million.
Sheikh's problems didn't stop with copyright violations. He did not report any of the income on his taxes.
Sheikh is not alone to blame for his actions. Okay, maybe he is. But others facilitated his actions. You see, Sheikh didn't market his product as genuine originals of Microsoft Office, Microsoft XP, Adobe Acrobat, or PhotoShop. He marketed his products as "cracked" copies -- that is, knock offs.
For writers, the lesson is not so much a warning about violating the copyright of others, as it is the huge market that is out there for people who don't care about copyright if they can get a better price. So who is reading knock offs of your books without you receiving a royalty?
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyyad/3830243742/">EyadHainey</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>