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Five hundred calls per month to piracy hotline: Microsoft

Microsoft revealed that it received around 500 calls per month to its Australian anti-piracy hotline from consumers that feel they have been ripped off and from resellers that are being pushed out of the market by dealers in pirate software.The claim comes as the software giant launched a massive crackdown against piracy by announcing it has filed 50 criminal and civil actions globally, including three in Australia.
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Written by Munir Kotadia on

Microsoft revealed that it received around 500 calls per month to its Australian anti-piracy hotline from consumers that feel they have been ripped off and from resellers that are being pushed out of the market by dealers in pirate software.

The claim comes as the software giant launched a massive crackdown against piracy by announcing it has filed 50 criminal and civil actions globally, including three in Australia.

Vanessa Hutley, senior lawyer at Microsoft Australia, said the company received information from a variety of sources and a lot of the information had come from the anti-piracy hotline.

Despite the large number of calls, Microsoft only took action once it had evidence of wrongdoing, Hutley said.

"We don't take action unless we have investigated ourselves. We find that the majority of people ringing the hotline are people that have genuinely been ripped off -- or system builders that find their business is being undermined by people that are actually shoddy dealers," she told ZDNet Australia.

According to Hutley, Microsoft does not set targets for the number of software pirates it hopes to catch each month.

"We don't just file cases for the sake of it nor do we benchmark -- doing X number for the sake of it -- each case is analysed on its own value and based on the evidence we have," she said.

In order to gather evidence, Microsoft employs secret shoppers, who are paid to purchase software from suspected pirates.

"We have a variety of mechanisms to track purchases -- people will go in as consumers and purchase products in a very legitimate way. We don't take rumours, we need to have evidence and that evidence is collected through a very judicious purchasing process," added Hutley.

In Australia today, Microsoft lodged proceedings in either the Federal Magistrates Court or the Federal Court of Australia against: Safar Safar of Ashfield, NSW-based Compubits; Zhiyang Xu, who trades in NSW as TopTeq Computer and Reuben Mark Vella, the sole director and shareholder of RP Distribution Pty Ltd, which trades as LGA Logistics.

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