What do you get when you sell fake Windows certificates? In the U.S., apparently you get nearly four years in prison
. A man convicted of pirating copies of Windows and selling fake certificates of authenticity along with them was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, giving Microsoft reason to celebrate:
"Microsoft applauds the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their efforts to protect consumers and intellectual property in the first prosecution under the Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments,"
The sentence was likely as harsh as it is because the person was not just ripping off Microsoft, but ripping off individual consumers who believed they were buying legal copies of Windows – only to discover that the authentic sticker wasn't quite so. The issue at hand was more to do with counterfeiting than pirating, but in either case the man used his technique to rake in quite a bit of money.
Long gone are the days when the penalty for piracy was a confused look from the judge and a slap on the wrist.