Four people have been jailed in China for spreading a pirated version of Windows XP.

According to the Xinhua news agency and Reuters, Hong Lei – the creator of Tomato Garden Windows XP – was jailed for three-and-a-half years, his partner Sun Xianzhong received the same sentence and two more people were jailed for two years each.

The Tomato Garden version of XP disabled the authentication system – allowing people to freely copy and distribute the Operating System.

Tomatolei

The OS was distributed through the tomatolei.com site, which was set up in 2004 by The Chengdu Gongruan Networking Technology CoLtd website

It has now had its income of 2.92 million yuan (c£260k) confiscated and was fined 8.77 million yuan (c£780k).

Despite the news, many suggest that China is still not going far enough to curb copyright theft.

"China's efforts to stop intellectual property theft have been weak and ineffective- heavy on tough talk but light on implementation," U.S. Congressman Howard Berman of California told Reuters.

"Hundreds of websites provide downloads and links to pirated movies, recordings and games."

Via China Daily / Reuters