Piracy Ringleader Pleads Guilty

Gretchen Gallen
WASHINGTON – In a case that investigators are claiming cost the software industry more than $20 million in lost revenue, the Justice Department has convicted a Lakeland, Fla. man on charges of criminal copyright infringement for selling pirated software through the mail.

Danny Ferrer, who pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, is accused of operating a massive for-profit software piracy website. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The investigation into Ferrer’s business dealings began when the FBI’s Washington field office began receiving complaints from copyright holders about his website. It was later discovered that Ferrer was shipping business and utility software from BuysUSA.com, which sold copies of software products that were copyrighted by companies such as Adobe Systems, Autodesk and Macromedia at prices substantially below the suggested retail price. The software products purchased on the website were reproduced on compact discs and distributed through the mail.

Ferrer operated the website from 2002-2005. During its three years in operation, BuysUSA illegally sold more than $2.47 million of copyrighted software.

Justice is calling Ferrer one of the largest commercial online distributors of pirated software in the U.S.

In light of the charges against him, Ferrer has agreed to give up some of his possessions including numerous airplanes, a helicopter, boats, cars and an ambulance.

Fisher said she hoped Ferrer’s conviction will send a sobering message to those who profit from the illegal sale and distribution of copyrighted works.

“This case reflects the Justice Department’s continued commitment to the enforcement of intellectual property laws and to bringing those who steal software and other intellectual property to justice,” she said.

Ferrer’s sentencing will take place Aug. 25.