Microsoft has been awarded damages of nearly $1 million after a legal battle over copyright infringements by online software seller, Moonbox Software.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia ruled that Microsoft should receive damages of $957,895 against Moonbox Software and its four directors, Jordan Barnett, Benjamin Davies, Daniel Leslie, and Frederick Porter, for infringement of Microsoft’s copyright.
According to Microsoft, the damages awarded are comprised of compensatory damages and additional damages, with additional damages awarded because of the “flagrancy of copyright infringement” by Moonbox.
As part of its ruling, the Federal Court has restrained Moonbox and its directors from infringing copyright in Microsoft software products in the future.
At the same time, the directors have also been permanently restrained from misrepresenting that they are lawfully entitled to supply Microsoft software.
Moonbox Software sold more than 3600 pirated product keys relating to 17 different Microsoft software products, over the period of a year, according to the global software vendor said.
The pirated software included Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home, Windows 8.1 Pro, Office Home & Business 2016, Office Home & Student 2016, and Office Pro 2016.
Microsoft said that Moonbox sold the unlawful product keys through its website www.moonboxsoftware.com.au.
The site, as well as a related UK-based website www.moonbox.com, run by one of Moonbox’s directors, was shut down shortly after Microsoft commenced its legal action against the company.
As of last year, potential Moonbox customers had been warned about the questionable nature of the products the company had been selling.
“Do not buy from them,” said one Whirlpool forum discussion participant in mid-2016. “I just got 5 MS Office Business licenses and all of them had already been activated. Very Dodgy!!”
The ruling follows other infringement cases in which Microsoft was awarded damages by the court.
“Microsoft has succeeded recently in obtaining damages by court order or agreed settlements from numerous Australian resellers of pirated Microsoft products, including XXIT Pty Ltd, Bytestech, PC Case Gear, AV2PC, and Software Oz,” said Microsoft Australia senior attorney, Clayton Noble.
In October last year, Australian Microsoft partner, PC Case Gear, agreed to pay the software giant $250,000 in damages as part of an out of court settlement over copyright infringement.
The online retailer, which is a Microsoft original equipment manufacturer (OEM) reseller, had sourced up to 4,000 Microsoft Windows 7 Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) – belonging to the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Program (MAR) – from an unauthorised third party.
Likewise, in August 2016, Microsoft reached out of court settlements with Software Oz, Bytestech Computers and PC-TEK over the companies' sales of unauthorised products and infringing copyright.
“Microsoft is also currently investigating and bringing legal enforcement actions against numerous other resellers of unauthorised Microsoft products,” Noble said.