News - 21 November 2007 (ARN)


Microsoft whips up anti-counterfeit program

Fleur Doidge and Julia Talevski (ARN)21 November, 2007 10:40 print email


Despite an ongoing highly public war against software piracy, Microsoft has refused to comment on the potential extent of reseller involvement.

The vendor recently wheeled out a senior Hong Kong-based investigator for the company, Brian Williams, and its director of intellectual property, Vanessa Hutley, to promote adherence to its "genuine Microsoft software" practices and compliance with laws against copyright infringement.

The pair said Microsoft had successfully prosecuted 17 cases of copyright infringement against its own software rights in Australia in the last financial year, and "four or five" in the previous financial year. However, Hutley would not speculate on the extent of channel involvement.

Citing a study sponsored by the Business Software Alliance of Australia (BSAA) - the local arm of an international lobby group mainly comprising large software vendors, including Microsoft - Hutley said 29 per cent of software loaded on Australian computers may have been illegally obtained. The BSAA estimated this represented a loss of $622 million to the Australian software industry.

She also cited a 2007 global study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which reported losses from counterfeiting and piracy globally hit $US200 billion in 2007.

However, that study, by the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, includes counterfeiting of all kinds of products and makes almost no mention of business software piracy. Similarly, the BSAA's figures on software piracy have often been criticised. . .

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