update Microsoft today released the results of a survey which it claimed showed that close to half of Australians believed that pirating software was "OK", and that the younger you are, the more likely you are to think it's acceptable.
The study, conducted by Galaxy Research, found that 45 per cent of the Australians sampled believe "it's OK, or at least OK in some situations", to download illegal copies of proprietary software.
The acceptance of pirated software also varied markedly with age. Of the 16- to 24-year olds surveyed, 64 per cent believed it was "OK or OK in some situations" to pirate software. On the other hand, only 36 per cent of over 50s surveyed had the same belief.
The study also found that 59 per cent of Australians "either weren't sure or didn't believe there to be any differences" between pirate and licensed software.
An IDC study estimated that Australia had a 28 per cent software piracy rate in 2007, suggesting that not everyone who believes it's acceptable to pirate software does so.
In order to combat piracy, Microsoft said that from today, Office customers would be able to install licence notifications through automatic updates known as Office Genuine Advantage. This notification ensures that installed copies of Office are legally licensed. If the update establishes the copy of Office is pirated, a pop-up dialog box will alert the user and provide options on how to acquire genuine Microsoft Office.
The update will not affect the way Microsoft Office works on individual computers and the user can continue to use Office as before. Those who find they are the victim of counterfeit software can submit a report to Microsoft and may be eligible to receive a free legitimate licence.