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Software piracy ring cracked: Microsoft

AvantiKumar | April 15, 2011
Microsoft welcomes raids across three countries that expose syndicate operating in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Malaysian enforcement division officers

PHOTO - Enforcement division officers from Malaysia's Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism.

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 APRIL 2011 - Software giant Microsoft welcomed the successful crackdown on a software piracy ring operating in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore by officers from the Enforcement division of Malaysia's Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism.

"Looking and feeling like genuine items to the untrained eye, these counterfeit products and tablet PCs had been available in the market and were previously sold to consumers with counterfeit Certificate of Authenticity labels placed on the tablet PCs and software packaging to deceive consumers," said a statement from Microsoft. "Investigations were launched after customers reported purchasing counterfeit retail copies of Microsoft Office Professional 2010 and Windows 7 Ultimate software, as well as tablets pre-loaded with counterfeit software, affixed with the counterfeit Certificate of Authenticity stickers."

"The six-month long investigation uncovered a regional syndicate distributing counterfeit software produced in China and computers to a network across Singapore, Australia and Malaysia," continued the statement. "Following the filing by Microsoft of a complaint under the Copyright Act 1987 and Trade Descriptions Act 1972 with the Malaysian ministry's enforcement division, two teams of 10 enforcement officers led by assistant director of special task force team Zambry Ahmad Siraj raided a residence in Old Klang Road and an office in Petaling Jaya, and seized counterfeit software and tablet PCs with unlicensed Microsoft Windows 7 installed."

"At the same time, the police in Singapore together with the Microsoft Counterfeit Investigation unit, seized more than 1,000 pieces of software as well as 12 tablet PCs that had unlicensed Microsoft Windows 7 installed. Meanwhile, in Sydney, Australia, Microsoft filed an urgent application with the Federal Court of Australia seeking an injunction and damages against a company for copyright infringement."

Head of the Intellectual Property Rights Branch of Singapore's Criminal Investigation Department, Superintendent of Police Loh Kah Wai, said, " Police take a serious view of intellectual property rights violations, and will continue to take strict enforcement action in partnership with the respective rights owners, to clamp down on syndicates involved in the distribution of unlicensed software in Singapore."

Microsoft's regional corporate attorney, Mike Hawkes, said:  "Microsoft is committed to protecting the interests of our consumers, partners and customers, by ensuring that they receive the full value of genuine, licensed Microsoft products. We are grateful to the local authorities for their dedication and cooperation enforcing the law. Counterfeiting is becoming an increasing threat issue globally and is detrimental to a thriving economy."

Industry watchdog Business Software Alliance (BSA) and analyst firm IDC indicated that 59 per cent of PCs in the Asia Pacific contain unlicensed, pirated or counterfeit software compared to the global average of 42 per cent.


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