REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 27, 1997 — Officials at Microsoft Corp. today announced the company has filed lawsuits against three resellers in Ontario, Canada, based on copyright infringement related to their alleged piracy of the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server and Windows NT Workstation operating systems.
The announcement coincides with the launch of Microsoft’s campaign in Canada to protect consumers from piracy of its fast-growing family of network server products, including Windows NT Server and the BackOffice® family. The campaign focuses on resellers that install unauthorized copies of server and workstation software onto computer networks, sometimes without providing customers with license agreements, client access licenses, backup disks or software documentation.
The lawsuits, which were filed in the Federal Court of Canada in Toronto on Aug. 21, are against Unique Business Machines and CompuWedge, both of Mississauga, Ontario; and Computer 4 Less of Toronto. Microsoft’s investigation was prompted by tips about each of the three to the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline, at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448).
“As the popularity of Windows NT Server and Windows NT Workstation has grown, they have become favorites for software piracy,” said Jim Allchin, senior vice president of the personal and business systems group at Microsoft. “We will work vigorously to protect our customers, the retail channel and our intellectual property rights.”
Microsoft’s complaint against Computer 4 Less is based on an undercover investigation in which the reseller allegedly installed copies of Windows NT Server and Windows NT Workstation on a network without providing the necessary licenses or documentation.
In January, Microsoft sent Unique Business Machines a cease-and-desist letter regarding alleged counterfeiting. According to court documents, Unique Business Machines allegedly sold a counterfeit copy of Windows NT Server retail product to a Microsoft undercover investigator, in addition to installing unlicensed copies on the server and workstations of a network.
The statement of claim against CompuWedge alleges hard-disk loading of Windows NT Server.
“The goal of this campaign is to protect our customers and the majority of resellers who play by the rules,” said Norm Dupuis, anti-piracy marketing manager for Microsoft Canada. “We are gearing up this campaign and want any resellers in the Canadian channel who aren’t playing by the rules to beware, because eventually they’re going to get caught.”
According to Microsoft, a number of warning signs can help computer buyers identify potentially illegal software products:
No Certificate of Authenticity
Prices that are “too good to be true”
No end-user license agreement
No product registration card
No backup disks, manuals or other materials for software installed on a new computer system
Backup disks that have handwritten labels, are not shrink-wrapped or appear to be of inferior quality
Manuals that are photocopied, are not shrink-wrapped or appear to be of inferior quality
Consumers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft products should call the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448) or send e-mail to email@example.com. To receive more information about software piracy in Canada, call the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) Anti-Piracy Hotline at (800) 263-9700, or visit the organization’s Web site at (http://www.bsa.org/canadadocs/default.htm) .
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