MS piracy squad targets Aussie retailers

As part of Microsoft's attempt to stop software piracy, it has named several Australian individuals partaking in "the sophisticated, illegal trade of pirated and counterfeit software".

Microsoft last week took three Australian individuals to court for what the software giant today claimed was trade in pirated and counterfeit software.


(Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

All three individuals Microsoft has lodged proceedings against in the Federal Magistrates Court had illicitly traded the company's software on eBay, the software giant claimed in a statement this afternoon announcing "Global Anti-Piracy Awareness Day", a simultaneous launch of local and international education initiatives and enforcement actions in 49 countries.

Microsoft alleged Lisa Jane Chatman, trading as eBay alias "angel*software*", Andrew Roe, trading as eBay alias "australian_computer_parts_wholesalers", and Calvin Knight, trading as eBay alias "4574criminal" had sold high-quality counterfeit copies of Microsoft Windows or Office.

The software giant did not say whether it would be pursuing legal action against eBay for its role in the sale of counterfeit software.

ZDNet.com.au is attempting to contact all three for a response to Microsoft's claims.

Microsoft said it had also targeted small businesses, such as PC retailers, in what it claimed were single instances of selling hardware with unlicensed copies of its operating system and desktop suite.

Microsoft claimed Mark Lunn, owner of South Australian retail store Inspect-A-Gadget, had sold a PC loaded with an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003.

In addition, the software giant claimed, Gary Rufnak, owner of South Australian retail store NewLife Computers had supplied a computer system loaded with an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003.

The third retailer which Microsoft claimed had provided pirated software was Tri Van Do, trading as Dovan Computers, which had allegedly supplied a computer system loaded with an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007.

All three have settled with Microsoft, according to the software giant.

"We are encouraged by the proportionally small number of businesses contacted who were prepared to offer pirated software. We will continue to monitor the channel to ensure this encouraging downward trend is maintained," said Vanessa Hutley Microsoft Australia's director of intellectual property.

Hutley has also claimed that cutting piracy by 10 per cent would generate 3,929 jobs in Australia over the next four years.

The Australian Federal Police also commented on the matter in a statement distributed by Microsoft. "Although it's a crime, fake goods seem to be widely acceptable, compared with stolen goods. The primary focus for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) is investigating and prosecuting producers, organisers and distributors of offending products," said the Australian Federal Police's manager of special operations, Ray Johnson.

Have you been contacted by Microsoft's anti-piracy squad? Drop ZDNet.com.au a line for a confidential chat on your experiences.

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