WESTMINSTER, Calif., July 26, 2000 — Today in front of a backdrop of a 16-by-16-foot wall made of counterfeit software, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to donate $300,000 from anti-piracy recovery efforts to the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster, Calif., over the next three years. To show the extent of the software counterfeiting problem in Los Angeles and throughout the country, a monster truck demolished a wall made of counterfeit software seized in raids in the Los Angeles area. Dozens of children who participate in the Westminster Boys & Girls Club helped to build the counterfeit wall — made of nearly 40,000 counterfeit CDs — as a summer project.
The Boys and Girls Club of Westminster is situated in an underprivileged community that has long been dominated by three prevalent gangs. The club has several programs that have successfully kept kids off the streets and out of trouble. Microsoft’s donation will help bolster current programs, as well as build a new on-site library and expand and upgrade the club’s computer lab.
“We are thrilled to receive this generous donation from Microsoft,”
said Monique Lawee, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster.
“It will allow us to continue to grow, reach out to students and offer them programs that provide a safe place to learn and to form ongoing relationships with caring adults.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Westminster, Calif., is one of many recipients of donations from Microsoft’s anti-piracy recovery efforts. Last year the company announced that it would donate half of its anti-piracy recoveries — estimated to be $25 million over the next five years — to nonprofit organizations worldwide.
Today’s donation stems from Microsoft’s settlement recoveries and judicial awards resulting from the company’s efforts to reduce software piracy. It is the largest single donation made to date stemming from these recovery dollars. Microsoft’s corporate philanthropy is focused on creating greater access to information technology in disadvantaged communities in the United States and around the world. This is accomplished through the support of higher education, youth programs, nonprofit technology infrastructure, public libraries and the creative community.
Microsoft became aware of the needs of this Boys & Girls Club chapter through the Westminster Police Department, which has been active in fighting criminal counterfeiting in the Los Angeles area. In particular, the Westminster Police Department was instrumental in the largest seizure of counterfeit Microsoft® software to date. The February 1999 raid in Paramount, Calif., recovered more than $60 million in counterfeit software and resulted in eight criminal indictments.
“California is one of our nation’s leading states in the software publishing industry,”
said Anne Kelley, Microsoft senior corporate attorney.
“Unfortunately, the same entrepreneurial spirit that has made California home to so many high-tech establishments also makes it a hotbed for software pirates and counterfeiters — making it a principal counterfeit software manufacturing center and lead exporter of counterfeit software.”
In the past few years, organized criminal counterfeiting has grown dramatically around the world. The United States has become the leading manufacturer and exporter of counterfeit software, with major counterfeiting rings based in California, Texas, Florida and New York. These counterfeiting operations have produced hundreds of millions of software units per year. Between June 1998 and June 2000, authorities seized 9.3 million units of counterfeit Microsoft software.
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