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Aussie resellers pay Microsoft $200K in damages over copyright infringements

Aussie resellers pay Microsoft $200K in damages over copyright infringements

Be Baffled, Budget PC and Impact Systems Technology among those pulled up by the vendor

Microsoft has reached settlements with four Australian sellers of unlicensed Microsoft software products, who admitted infringing Microsoft’s copyright. They include Microsoft resellers, websites and eBay sellers.

Be Baffled, which operates an online store, bebaffled.com.au, and its sole director have agreed to pay Microsoft $50,000 in damages for infringing Microsoft's copyright.

As part of the settlement, Be Baffled has undertaken not to deal in any unlicensed Microsoft software products, the software vendor said.

Microsoft has also reached a settlement with Impact Systems Technology (IST), which operated online and via its Sydney office, and its sole director for infringing its copyright.

Microsoft's said its investigators purchased a new personal computer from IST, which had  a counterfeit Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached and an unauthorised copy of Windows 10 Professional installed.

As part of the settlement, IST has agreed not to deal in any unlicensed Microsoft software products.

It is understood that an ex-employee of IST bought 10 licences of his own accord. The company subsequently worked with Microsoft to resolve the issue with cooperation on both sides. 

ARN understands that IST paid only for the replacement costs associated with the 10 licences, a settlement Microsoft was happy to accept given the circumstances.

Budget PC and its sole director, meanwhile, have agreed to pay Microsoft $150,000 in damages for infringing Microsoft's copyright. Budget PC operated online at budgetpc.com.au and in store at Heatherton and Mt Waverley in Victoria.

According to Microsoft, its investigators purchased a new computer from Budget PC which had a copy of Windows 7 installed, using a product key that belonged to the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Program (MAR).

A tampered MAR Certificate of Authenticity (COA) was affixed to the computer, the vendor said

Budget PC has also admitted that it had authorised the infringement of Microsoft’s copyright in Windows 7 by others, the vendor claimed, through its sale and supply of MAR COAs outside the defined and authorised MAR channel.

As with Be Baffled, Microsoft’s settlement with Budget PC sees the reseller agree to an undertaking not to deal in any unlicensed Microsoft software products.

At the same time, the vendor said it has reached a settlement with Ausgamekeys for its infringement of Microsoft’s copyright. The sole trader behind the eBay store, which went by the username ‘ausgamekeys’, is no longer a registered user of eBay.

Microsoft investigators purchased three USB storage keys, each with an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro and a leaked product key, the vendor said.

“Microsoft is currently investigating and bringing legal enforcement actions against numerous other resellers of unauthorised Microsoft products,” Microsoft senior attorney, Clayton Noble said.

“Microsoft will continue working to maintain a level playing field for our Australian resellers and other partners who obey the law, and we work closely with our colleagues globally to target sellers of pirated software in different jurisdictions,” he said.

Microsoft periodically provides details about the resellers it finds to have been selling unauthorised copies of its software, as part its ongoing efforts to dissuade such copyright infringement in Australia.

In April, for example, Microsoft revealed it had been awarded damages of nearly $1 million after a legal battle over copyright infringements by online software seller, Moonbox Software.

In that instance, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia ruled that Microsoft should receive damages of $957,895 against Moonbox Software and its four directors for infringement of Microsoft’s copyright.

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.

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.



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