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Piracy world news

Microsoft ups anti-piracy in Europe

By Joy Dietrich

PARIS - Microsoft's ongoing war against software piracy is making headway in Europe, as it reports capturing over $US23 million worth of goods from channel dealers for the fiscal year ended June 30.

The piracy rate in Europe decreased in the last two years, but even at this improving rate, the industry still lost more than $US3 billion in potential revenue from the illegal copying of its products, said Microsoft Europe.

Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts also led to nearly 5000 legal actions including civil lawsuits, the filing of criminal charges, and police-led raids, against businesses and channel dealers.

In France, Microsoft won $US560,000 in costs and damages against French Canadian academic products importer Bac Plus for violating Microsoft's trademark. In the Netherlands, tens of thousands of copies of the Microsoft Mouse 2.0 worth $2.5 million were seized from computer resellers.

Two brothers in Poland were sentenced to 18 months in prison for illegally copying and distributing around 8000 titles of Microsoft and other companies' computer programs and games. And in Stockholm, Stefan Strom, a Swede, was sentenced to one year in jail and fined $1 million for pirating CD-ROMs.

UK police urge industry action against piracyBy Andrew OrlowskiLONDON - The industry isn't doing enough to stop software piracy, according to Sergeant Ben Swanson, a leading police fraud investigator. Action should match the rhetoric, he told IDG. "It's not a matter for the police - it's a matter for the industry."

He also acknowledged, however, that illicit counterfeit software helps the vendors in the long run, as people are attracted to the products and eventually pay for legitimate upgrades.

"Microsoft knows that in less mature markets, such as Africa or Eastern Europe, the priority is getting the software established," said a UK-based piracy investigator from a leading international software vendor. "It turns a blind eye to piracy, because it makes commercial sense for the company in the long run."

But Microsoft strongly refuted the suggestion. "Microsoft just doesn't look at it like that," said Mark Roberts, the company's product manager responsible for anti-piracy in the UK.

"It's hard to justify the benefits of piracy," he added. For every job writing the software, seven jobs are created in customer support, said Roberts.

On top of that, people using pirated software are depriving themselves of support.

The BSA is pressing for custodial sentences for counterfeiters. Typically, a sentence consists of community service. "That's no deterrent," said Steve Cheese of ELSPA, a leisure software vendors' forum. "We have to educate the judiciary."

Software piracy threatens Jordan's IT marketBy David BurnsAMMAN - High-tech pirates are pillaging the computer software market in Jordan, and if left unchecked may destroy the country's chances of competing in the international marketplace.

Bootleggers blatantly advertise their stock and occupy high rent storefronts in Amman, unafraid of prosecution - and for good reason. The police have not made a copyright-related arrest in recent memory. And even if they did, the copyright law itself may actually protect the pirate.

Jordan's present copyright law only protects original products on file at the National Library.

Local software developers can beat the counterfeiters by protecting their programs before mass production begins. However, multinational corporations may not file the Jordan-specific paperwork before illicit copies arrive in Jordan from abroad.

The figures at play are significant. Computer software pirates drastically undercut authentic distributors, selling $US300 software programs for $US30 or less.

"My store is losing about 10,000 Jordanian dinars (about $US14,500) per month to counterfeiters," said Said Ishak, general manager at East Star Computer, a Microsoft distributor in Jordan. "Software pirates are actually increasing in Jordan. Selling pirated copies is the only type of software business that is booming in this country."


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