Microsoft is taking a tough stance on software piracy and counterfeit products being distributed in the Australian market.
Earlier this year, the Australian Federal Court awarded damages of $296,000 to Microsoft after the software giant brought an action for copyright infringement against Melbourne-based Glostar.
Microsoft said that that the breach of copyright and trademarks would have severe consequences for resellers and distributors in terms of reputation, and that producing “fake” Microsoft products was both illegal and immoral.
It claimed Australia is bombarded with large amounts of imported counterfeit products from Asia, resulting in a loss of one-third of Microsoft’s revenue.
Illegal or unlicensed software copying includes making physical copies of a software program, making electronic copies on your computer or a local network and making copies from the Internet.
Microsoft said that the major problem was ‘hard disk loading’, which occurred when one product licence was issued but the program was duplicated on to more than one computer.
Anti-Piracy Marketing Manager at Microsoft Australia, Nicola Hunnisett, said that 27 per cent of software imported into Australia is counterfeit.
Microsoft spends more than $5 billion per year on research and development to produce new and more secure products.
Hunnisett described the piracy issue as ‘concerning’.
She said that pirated products were not subject to warranty and technical support, but could also contain explicit material.
“Most businesses want to do the right thing,” she said. “Our [Microsoft’s] most important strategy is to make it a level playing field in the channel.”
Hunnisett said that counterfeit products were obvious and did not contain the Microsoft security logo and certificate of authenticity.
“The latest programs have a hologram on the disk, and that disk, has more security features than any currency in the world,” she claimed.
Microsoft has started an anti-piracy strategy to build loyalty in the channel and grow volume in licensing.