Chinese theft of Western technology includes cracking the security on high-end CAD (computer aided design) software and selling the stuff to Western users. Recently one of those American users (Wronald Best) was convicted and sentenced to 366 days in prison for buying 60 of these powerful and complex software programs from a Chinese man (Xiang Li) who specialized in finding people who could crack software security, as well as finding customers for the software packages that were illegally cracked. Li sold Best software worth $2.3 million for $6,000. That’s a discount of over 99 percent on 60 software packages that, on average, sell for $38,300 each. Li faces 25 years in prison. Best used his cut-rate software for work on American warplanes and missiles.
Two other Chinese are being prosecuted for taking part in this effort to crack and sell high-end technical software. The government has also found the identities of some of the Chinese and Russian hackers who actually hacked the security aspects of this software. This design software has made engineers and scientists much more productive. But this software is enormously complex and very expensive to develop. Selling pirated copies discourages developers from creating new software of this type, as well as forcing the developers to raise prices.