Microsoft has been busy catching resellers selling illegal software with one of the largest cases of naming and shaming to hit the channel including a raft of shop-front-dealers from the Midlands and North among the 21 guilty offenders.
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As well as high-street dealers the software giant has also hit four trader who sold illegal software through auction site eBay.
Michala Wardell, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft, said that it had to protect the legitimate channel and take action against illegal traders.
"At a time when UK resellers are looking to expand their business post-recession, piracy not only impedes growth but puts local hard working computer shops out of business," she said.
"This is none more so the case than in piracy hotspots such as Liverpool/Merseyside and Birmingham, where honest resellers feel the cumulative effect of being out-priced by a number of local illegal traders," she added.
One of those caught out, Amar Mahmood from Discount Computer Warehouse Ltd, said that it understood how dangerous piracy was to itself and its customers.
"We conducted an investigation to find out what went wrong and we've now put measures in place to make sure this never happens again. It's fair to say we made a mistake but it's now firmly behind us," he said.
Colin Carney from SXC Industries Ltd, another of the computer shops that faced court action, said that it did not condone piracy and had contacted its customers to assure them that the problems would not be repeated.
Settlements were reached with the following 21 resellers, who all admitted to hard disk loading and selling software illegally:
Computer Services Repair, Birmingham
Marsh Computers High Tech Trading Ltd, Kent
B'N'I Computers Ltd, Birmingham
Morely Computers, Leeds
Discovery Computers, Birmingham
South Liverpool PC Repair, Leeds
Gemini Computers, Birmingham
Smithdown Computers, Liverpool
Bytesize Solutions Ltd, Birmingham
TC Links, Liverpool
Discount Computer Warehouse, Birmingham
SXC Industries Ltd t/a Stockxchange, Liverpool
Computer Resale, Chesterfield
Avesta UK Ltd, Manchester
Quest Computers, Gosport
KBR Computers, Merseyside
Surf-IT Computers Ltd, Hampshire
Jupiter IT, Merseyside
Exel Computers, Sheffield
Clarion Computers, Swansea
MCS Computers, Teeside
Four traders who used the auction site eBay have admitted to selling software illegally:
Little Laptop Shop eBay (aka recovery_dvds)
Custom PC Shop
Fizz Time aka Electricbuy
Snowdon Computers Ltd