Microsoft Australia has reached out of court settlements with resellers Software Oz, Bytestech Computers and PC-TEK for selling unauthorised products and infringing copyright.
This move follows investigations by Microsoft’s anti-piracy investigators, who found that each of the companies were selling unlicensed Microsoft solutions.
The first reseller, Easy Peas, trading as Software Oz, along with its director, have agreed to pay $300,000 in damages for infringing Microsoft’s copyright by selling unauthorised copies of Microsoft software products and Microsoft product keys.
The Microsoft programs that were sold by Software Oz include Microsoft Visio Professional 2013 and Microsoft Project Professional 2013. Software Oz was selling the copies in Australia and in the UK.
Microsoft Australia legal counsel, Clayton Noble, said the reseller was identified during investigation sweeps carried out in 2015-2016, and that the landmark settlement is one of the largest to date of its kind. As part of the settlement, it has also agreed not to manufacture, import, supply or distribute in infringing Microsoft programs in the future.
XXIT, trading as PC-TEK, has agreed to pay Microsoft Australia $25,000 in as part of its out of court settlement. XXIT was previously found to have infringed Microsoft's copyright in a settlement in 2013.
The company admitted to infringing Microsoft's copyright in the program Windows 7 Professional, which it was selling via shopfront in Clayton, Victoria, online, and on its store on eBay Australia.
The business has also admitted to peeling of Certificates of Authenticity from second hand machines purchased by the organisation, and reapplying them to new computers, activating unauthorised copies of the programs onto the computer systems which were sold to customers.
As part of the settlement, it has also agreed not to deal in any infringing programs.
Microsoft also reached an out of court settlement with Jian Ping Wang, trading as Bytestech Computers. Bytestech had been engaging in hard disk loading of unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows 10 and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 on its website.
Clayton Noble said these settlements indicate that Microsoft is serious about protecting its consumers against the security risks in counterfeit software.
“We are also intent on creating an even playing field for those partners and resellers that are doing the right thing. We encourage all consumers to purchase their software from reputable retailers they can trust.
“The risks of deploying software of unknown origin or pirated software are serious, ranging from system crashes, malware and data loss to identity theft,” he mentioned.