REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 19, 1996 — Microsoft Thursday praised federal law enforcement officials for their efforts in filing criminal charges in the massive U-Top software piracy case and arresting a key suspect as he was attempting to leave the country.
The complex software piracy and copyright infringement case, which dates back to 1992, involves the alleged manufacture of over 200,000 unauthorized copies of MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1 software. A federal grand jury originally brought charges against five individuals and two businesses last year, but the charges were sealed as law enforcement officials worked to apprehend suspects who had left the country.
With the recent arrest of one of the suspects in the case, United States Attorney Michael J. Yamaguchi has announced the filing of the criminal charges against five individuals and two businesses.
In addition to the criminal proceedings, Microsoft filed a civil lawsuit against the participants in the counterfeiting operation in September 1992. In August 1996, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded Microsoft $24.8 million in damages, plus attorney fees, court costs, and pre-judgment interest. The Court judgment was against U-Top Printing Company, U-Win Printing Company, and the owners of those two companies, James and Shirley Sung.
“Both the size of the civil judgment and the tenacity of law enforcement officials in prosecuting intellectual property crimes should send a clear warning to anyone who is thinking about engaging in software piracy against any company,”
said Jim Lowe, Microsoft Corporate Attorney handling North American anti-piracy issues.
“Whether it’s against Microsoft or any other company, software piracy is theft, and it will be treated as theft by the software industry and by law enforcement officials.”
At the outset of Microsoft’s civil lawsuit, the Court issued an order freezing the assets of the defendants; those assets are now available for Microsoft to collect against the judgment.
Microsoft works closely with law enforcement agencies and other software companies to protect consumers from counterfeit software and other forms of software piracy. To report piracy of Microsoft products or inquire about the legitimacy of Microsoft products, consumers should call the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline at 1-800-RU-LEGIT or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive industry-wide information about software piracy, consumers can call the Business Software Alliance (BSA) Anti-Piracy Hotline at 1-800-688-2721 or e-mail email@example.com.
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