Microsoft launches safe online shopping guide; files 52 piracy lawsuits

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Microsoft launches safe online shopping guide; files 52 piracy lawsuits

Microsoft has teamed up with eBay to launch a new educational guide to help consumers spot and avoid counterfeit software when shopping online as it ramps up its fight against piracy.

The ‘Microsoft Buying Guide’, available on eBay’s Reviews and Guides section, provides best practices and resources for purchasing legitimate software online.

According to Matt Halprin, vice president of Trust & Safety for eBay, counterfeit software is illegal and not welcome and the company applauds Microsoft’s actions to stop the abuse.

“As our business has grown and the challenges of global counterfeiting have become more complex, cooperation with law enforcement and rights owners has become more critical — we need to fight the sale of counterfeit goods together,” he said.

According to Microsoft, counterfeit software can contain harmful viruses, malware and spyware, that can compromise user privacy and robs the software industry of approximately US$40 billion per year.

The launch of the guide this week coincides with Microsoft’s announcement that it has filed 52 lawsuits against resellers worldwide for the sale of counterfeit software.

No resellers in Australia were involved, however, this doesn’t mean Australia is in the clear. In a recent interview with Brian Williams, senior regional investigator at Microsoft APAC he said: “Australia is favoured by [fraudulent] distributors. Often in Asia people know they are buying counterfeits but in Australia people are buying quality counterfeits and being fooled” he said.

Furthermore, according to Vanessa Hutley, director of intellectual property, Microsoft Australia, approximately 200 calls a month are made to caller hotlines from consumers, in relation to fraudulent products.

Fifteen of the 52 lawsuits filed were involved in the largest-ever commercial counterfeit syndicate broken up earlier this year by Chinese authorities, the FBI and Microsoft.

“Microsoft is committed to taking the legal action necessary to protect consumers around the world from the dangers of counterfeit software, and we encourage consumers to look to the legitimate channel,' said David Finn, associate general counsel for Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft.
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