Microsoft launches aggressive pursuit of pirates

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Microsoft launches aggressive pursuit of pirates

Microsoft has launched a devastating attack against alleged counterfeiters and pirates, taking simultaneous legal action in Australia and 48 countries on six continents for what they declared to be “Global Anti-Piracy Day”.

On 14 October, Microsoft Australia filed proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court for copyright infringement against three individuals trading online.

Those accused are:
  • Lisa Jane Chatman, trading as eBay alias “angel*software”: Copyright infringement claim for allegedly selling high quality counterfeit copies of Microsoft Windows XP Professional OEM
  • Andrew Roe trading as eBay alias ”australian_computer_parts_wholesalers”: Copyright infringement claim for allegedly selling high quality counterfeit copies of Microsoft Windows XP Professional OEM and Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003
  • Calvin Knight trading as eBay alias “4574criminal”: Copyright infringement claim for allegedly selling high quality counterfeit Microsoft Windows XP Professional OEM


Microsoft also launched a “blitz” review of more than 400 IT businesses, which netted two South Australian resellers offering pirated software:
  • Mark Lunn and Specta-G Pty Limited trading as Inspect-A-Gadget: Copyright infringement claim for allegedly supplying a computer system loaded with an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003
  • Gary Rufnak trading as NewLife Computers: Copyright infringement claim for allegedly supplying a computer system loaded with an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003


Microsoft also reached a settlement with a third South Australian reseller, Tri Van Do, trading as Dovan Computers, on 13 October. He was accused of supplying a computer system loaded with an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007

The global action is part of Microsoft’s new initiative to target online counterfeit sales. According to Microsoft, there is a growing trend of high-quality counterfeit products being sold directly to unsuspecting consumers online.

“Software piracy and counterfeiting is a global trade and Microsoft is committed to working with others around the world to stay a step ahead of this criminal industry," said Vanessa Hutley, Director, Intellectual Property, Microsoft Australia.

"Fighting piracy is about protecting consumers who think they are buying legitimate software, as well protecting the interests of legitimate IT businesses.

“It has been estimated that a reduction in piracy by 10 per cent over the next four years would generate an additional 3,929 jobs in Australia. According to a recent IDC Piracy Impact Study 2008, the reduction would result in $1.9 billion in local industry revenue and $4.3 billion in additional GDP,” Hutley said.

Earlier in the year, a similar Australian blitz uncovered 21 infringements.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) special operations manager Ray Johnson said that intellectual property crime was not a victimless crime. He said that the manufacture, distribution and sale of copied goods caused job losses, harms the economy, funds other serious organized crime and affects the commercial viability of legitimate vusinesses.

"Counterfeiting and piracy steals someone else's creativity, investment, planning and effort," Commander Johnson said.

"Intellectual property is just as valuable as physical property and, unlike much of what might be stolen in a burglary, you can't replace stolen ideas. Although it's a crime, fake goods seem to be widely acceptable, compared with stolen goods. The primary focus for the AFP is investigating and prosecuting producers, organisers and distributers of offending products."

Microsoft estimates that globally, more than one-third of PCs are unlicensed or contain pirated or counterfeit software.
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