Microsoft Files Lawsuits on Behalf of New England Customers Deceived by Counterfeit Software
Eight Resellers Allegedly Persisted in Distributing Counterfeit Microsoft Products
REDMOND, Wash. - Jan. 21, 1999 - Microsoft Corp. officials today announced that the company has filed lawsuits against eight New England computer retail establishments in response to complaints by customers and honest resellers. The lawsuits allege copyright violations and trademark infringement for the distribution of counterfeit products and installation of unlicensed software on computers sold to consumers.
Companies in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island were investigated as part of an ongoing effort to help protect customers and legitimate distributors from the effects of software piracy. Pirated products may contain harmful viruses and often lack key elements, such as user manuals and product identifications, Certificates of Authenticity and software code.
"Software piracy undermines the integrity of the products and services we provide our customers," said Ray Riddick of GreenPages Co., an authorized Microsoft Large Account Reseller in New England. "We will enthusiastically support Microsoft as it initiates action against companies that distribute illegal software."
The five complaints in Massachusetts allege that the defendants distributed counterfeit Microsoft® product and that two of them also "hard disk loaded" unauthorized copies of Microsoft software onto the hard drives of computers they sell. The complaints are as follows:
The New Hampshire and Rhode Island complaints, also alleging distribution of counterfeit software and hard disk loading, are as follows:
"These states have lost more than $1 billion in combined wages, taxes and revenues because of software piracy," said Nick Psyhogeos, Microsoft corporate attorney. "We intend to hold illegal businesses accountable and help diminish the many negative effects software piracy has had on the economy and people of New England."
Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft products
should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hot line toll free at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448),
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, a list of authorized distributors and details regarding the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) System Builder program is available at http://www.microsoft.com/oem/. Consumers can obtain more information about software piracy by calling the Business Software Alliance anti-piracy hot line at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722) or sending e-mail to email@example.com.
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