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Microsoft hits ‘pirates’ with lawsuits

Tash Shifrin

Microsoft has filed 26 separate lawsuits in the US courts against alleged illegal software dealers in the latest stage of its anti-piracy crackdown.

The cases target firms companies that Microsoft claims have pirated software or been involved in “hard-disc loading” – installing unlicensed software on computers they sell.

The slew of lawsuits was filed in courts across the US and is aimed at tackling “the pandemic of pirated and counterfeit software” on the market, Microsoft said.

The software giant used a “mystery shopper” exercise to gather evidence for its lawsuits, sending people to buy hardware and software, then testing its components to check authenticity. Microsoft also said some dealers had been the subject of complaints to its anti-piracy hotline.

Microsoft’s anti-piracy crackdown has so far had mixed results. The firm trumpeted its victory over UK software dealer William Ling, who had traded more than £3.5m of counterfeit and unlicensed Microsoft software over five years, when he shut down operations in May.

But the company’s anti-piracy activities have also sparked legal challenges from software users. Microsoft is facing two class action lawsuits alleging that its Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy program is spyware and that the firm misled users by labelling it as a critical security update.

 

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