Microsoft's New Zealand subsidiary has decided to go it alone with a new campaign to fight software piracy, but denies that it is distancing itself from the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
Last week it launched the Microsoft Foundation Campaign to educate New Zealanders on the importance and benefits of protecting intellectual property.
Microsoft believes one-third of all software being used in New Zealand is illegal.
While dealer software piracy and counterfeiting remains a major concern, the company believes that up to 60 per cent of New Zealand businesses are using copied software to varying degrees.
Microsoft public relations spokeswoman Alex Mercer says when dealing with businesses most cases are settled out of court and the business usually pays damages and deletes the unlicensed software.
Microsoft is encouraging the public to pitch in and has set up a hotline for people reporting incidents of software piracy. Unlike the BSA hotline, leads given to the Microsoft number will not result in cash rewards. In return for help from the community Microsoft will donate all net proceeds from anti-piracy enforcement activities back into the community. This will take the form of software and training to schools and educational organisations, says Mercer.