A man from Wales has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary, including the theft of software, valued at £190,000.
Nicholas Wright was found guilty at Reading Crown Court of stealing a wide range of computer software, including a large number of Microsoft products.
Microsoft UK head of anti-piracy Michala Wardell said that the conviction should act as a warning to the public about the consequences and risks of buying illegal software.
"Piracy is not just about getting something cut-price because, as this case unfortunately shows, people who sell and distribute pirated software are often connected to more serious crimes such as identity theft, fraud and burglary," she said.
Microsoft has been involved in actions against Wright before. In September 2007 he admitted to trademark and copyright infringement which caused millions of pounds worth of damage in lost revenue for genuine resellers.
Matt Fisher, director of marketing at software asset management firm FrontRange Solutions, said that such thefts are commonplace given the value of business software, and that companies need to stay on top of their licences.
"It is important that organisations have a firm handle on their software licences, not only from a compliance point of view, but as a way of documenting exactly what they have, how it's being used and what proofs of entitlement they possess," he said.
Fisher added that having the right licences can allow businesses to prove that they are legitimate owners of the software.
"Failure to do so not only invites audits and fines from vendors, but leaves them liable to prosecution should they find themselves in such a situation," he added.
Microsoft has a good track record of working with the police to help track those counterfeiting or stealing its products.
"While Microsoft clearly has a vested interest in stamping out software piracy, we hope that on a broader level we can help play a part in fighting the war against other serious related crimes," said Wardell.
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