Hong Lei, maker of China's most popular pirated edition of Windows XP, was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail Thursday in the eastern Suzhou city, the Suzhou-based news portal subaonet.com reported.
Hong, author of the Tomato Garden Windows XP, in which he disabled the authentication and certification process, was sentenced by the People's Court of Huqiu District in Suzhou. He was also fined one million yuan ($146,400).
In the country's biggest software copyright infringement case, Hong and his partners offered downloads of the Windows XP Tomato Garden Edition to at least 10 million users for free and made profits from advertisement.
Hong's partner, Sun Xianzhong, got the same sentence. Another two people were sentenced to two years in prison and each was fined 100,000 yuan.
The Chengdu Gongruan Networking Technology Co Ltd, which ran the download website, had its income of 2.92 million yuan confiscated and was fined 8.77 million yuan.
Hong set up the tomatolei.com site in 2004 and created the Tomato Garden version of the Windows XP which soon became one of China's most popular pirated software system.
In June last year, the Business Software Alliance, of which Microsoft is a member, complained to China's National Copyright Administration and the Ministry of Public Security about the copyright infringement of Hong's team.
Hong and his partners were arrested between August and December last year.