With its potential payload of viruses, worms, spyware and other hazards, counterfeit software can quickly turn a high-tech holiday stocking stuffer into a smoldering lump of coal. Microsoft Corp. today filed copyright infringement lawsuits against alleged dealers of counterfeit versions of the company’s programs, sending a shot across the bow at pirates scheming to defraud consumers and the vast majority of legitimate businesses out of earned profits during the holiday season.
The lawsuits Microsoft announced today are against those companies that allegedly distributed counterfeit and pirated software and software components or participated in hard-disk loading (installing unlicensed software on computers they sold). The suits were filed in 25 cities across the U.S., from Riverbank, Calif., to Melbourne, Fla. The vast majority of software distributors are honest businesses that lose out to the dishonest dealers that attempt to defraud consumers.
“No one would want their newly purchased computer or software to be laden with problems caused by incomplete code, worms, viruses, spyware and other risks,” said Mary Jo Schrade, senior attorney at Microsoft. “Aside from a fight to protect our intellectual property, we are working to protect our partners and customers who buy computer software in good faith, expecting to get genuine Microsoft® Windows® and end up being exploited and defrauded by software pirates.”