Kansas aircraft companies sentenced for using illegal software

FILE(Source: Gray News)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) - Two aircraft companies in Kansas have been sentenced for using illegal software.

Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard says in separate court cases, two Kansas-based companies have been sentenced for operating with pirated computer software. He said Lightning Aerospace, LLC, and Fly Manufacturing, LLC, pleaded guilty to one count of circumvention of protected copyright work each.

According to Slinkard, Dassault Systèmes owns the copyright to software called Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application or CATIA. According to documents, both companies admitted to intentionally using the unlicensed versions of CATIA for years. During that time, he said both companies did not purchase software from Dassault Systèmes or pay for licensing.

“Defendants involved in these types of crimes like to claim them as victimless,” said Katherine Greer, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in the Kansas City area. “The offenses, in this case, are aggravated by the fact that the accused used unlicensed software to design and test parts for aircraft actions that could have grave consequences to consumers. Not to mention the billions of dollars legitimate companies are losing each year to cybercriminals engaged in digital thefts, costs likely being passed along to customers.”

During sentencing, Slinkard said the court ordered Lightning Aerospace to pay $46,002 in restitution to Dassault Systèmes and pay about $28,000 in court fines. He said Flying Manufacturing was ordered to pay $67,272 in restitution and about $8,000 in fines.

“Not only did these two businesses defraud a software company, they also gave themselves an unfair financial advantage over competitors who obeyed the law by paying for software and licensing fees,” said Slinkard. “Hopefully these convictions will deter other companies from engaging in intellectual property theft.”

According to Slinkard, the case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Kansas City. He said Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger prosecuted the case.

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