Microsoft Takes Legal Action Against Software Pirates in Missouri
Action Taken to Rid the Distribution Channel of Pirated Software And Protect Consumers of Microsoft Products
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 13, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has filed software piracy lawsuits against three Missouri-based resellers for the alleged distribution of counterfeit and/or infringing Microsoft® software. These legal actions aim to protect consumers of Microsoft software from the negative ramifications of acquiring bogus software.
Earlier this month, the software industry's anti-piracy watchdog group, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), announced a truce that would suspend it from taking legal actions against end users in St. Louis for software piracy. The truce, which ends Sept. 15, is designed to encourage consumers, including small businesses, to assess and ensure software compliance. As a BSA member company, Microsoft supports these efforts and is also committed to ensuring the legal distribution of its software through education efforts and, as necessary, anti-piracy legal actions. This involves ensuring that consumers can have confidence in the suppliers from whom they acquire their software, because consumers rely on an honest distribution channel to deliver legitimate software.
"One of our clients ran across Office Pro in the reseller channel for $80. We knew it couldn't be genuine product, and confirmed our suspicion that it was likely counterfeit," said John Huff, president and CEO of J. Norman Consulting Inc., a St. Louis information technology firm. "In addition to putting our customers at risk, software piracy and counterfeiting among resellers gives illegal operators an unfair competitive advantage over companies that obey the law."
Software piracy continues to have a severe negative impact on state and local economies across the country and around the world. According to a study released in 1999 by International Planning and Research Corp., the average piracy rate in the United States is 25 percent, which means that one in four computers are running pirated software.
All of the lawsuits allege that the defendants distributed counterfeit and/or infringing copies of Microsoft software or software components to investigators and/or customers. The complaints are as follows:
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Missouri:
"It is encouraging to see the work being done in St. Louis and throughout the state to combat software piracy," said Janice Block, corporate attorney for Microsoft. "Like software developers and government and law enforcement agencies, consumers can also play a role in fighting software piracy. In fact, through self-education and a watchful eye, consumers can have the greatest impact of all in the war against piracy. No consumer wants to spend his or her money on bogus products."
Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft software should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hot line, toll free, at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448) or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on software piracy is available at http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/ . Consumers can also obtain more information by calling the Business Software Alliance anti-piracy hot line at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722) or by sending e-mail to email@example.com.
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