Microsoft Takes Legal Action to Thwart Software Piracy in Phoenix

PHOENIX, Nov. 15, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. has taken action today to help protect consumers in Phoenix from spending good money on potentially bogus software, by filing a software piracy lawsuit against Phoenix-area reseller Coast 2 Coast Office Supply Inc. for the alleged distribution of counterfeit and/or infringing Microsoft® software.

“When resellers engage in the distribution of counterfeit software, not only do they cheat unsuspecting consumers and businesses of the free support otherwise available with legitimate product, but they damage the user’s overall confidence in software products,”
said Steven Skarphol, president of Skarphol & Associates.
“We appreciate Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to educate consumers and businesses about the costs and consequences of software piracy — it helps to encourage a more fair competitive marketplace and contributes to a more positive computing experience.”

Microsoft works independently as well as with industry organizations such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a software industry watchdog group, to help educate consumers and businesses about software piracy. The BSA recently announced a truce period in Phoenix for November, during which businesses are encouraged to review their software licensing to ensure they are compliant. Throughout the duration of the truce, the BSA will help companies become compliant without imposing penalties for past illegal software usage. The legal actions today of Microsoft, a BSA member company, support the BSA’s efforts by ensuring that Phoenix-area companies have access to legitimate software in the marketplace as they take steps to acquire any necessary software licenses or products.

The rate of software piracy in Arizona, at 30 percent, exceeds the national average of 25 percent. According to the International Planning and Research Corp., in 1999 software piracy cost the state more than 1,428 jobs and more than $134 million in combined wages, tax revenues and retail sales of business software applications, demonstrating that software piracy affects not just unfortunate consumers and honest resellers, but every citizen in the state.

This lawsuit filed by Microsoft alleges that the defendant distributed counterfeit and/or infringing copies of Microsoft software or software components to investigators and/or customers. The complaint is as follows:

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona:

  • Coast 2 Coast Office Supply Inc. allegedly distributed counterfeit Office Professional 2000 and Project 98 (Case No. CIV 00-2151 PHX PGR).

In this case the allegations indicate that Microsoft received reports from the public regarding the defendants’ distribution and/or advertising of suspicious Microsoft software. In the case against Coast 2 Coast Office Supply, Microsoft alleges that it received more than 30 such reports from April 1997 to November 2000.

Over the past two years in Phoenix, Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to protecting consumers through education efforts and by taking legal action against nine Phoenix-area businesses for the alleged distribution of counterfeit and/or infringing Microsoft software.

In filing software piracy lawsuits, Microsoft’s primary objective is to seek a permanent injunction that would prevent companies from violating Microsoft’s copyrights and trademarks. These violations, if allowed to continue, would ultimately put Phoenix consumers at risk of acquiring pirated software.

Microsoft has announced that, in addition to its other community affairs activities, it plans to donate an estimated $25 million over the next five years — half of its anticipated software piracy recoveries during that time period — to nonprofit organizations worldwide focused on providing access to technology for disadvantaged communities. In the Arizona cases alone, Microsoft has to date obtained judgments and settlements totaling over $2 million.

“It is encouraging to see the work being done in Phoenix and throughout the United States to combat software piracy,”
said Anne Murphy Kelley, senior corporate attorney for Microsoft.
“We take our responsibility seriously to work with local government, state agencies and industry associations to make consumers aware of the substantial negative impact of software piracy and the risks that accompany pirated software programs.”

Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft software should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hot line, toll free, at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448) or send e-mail to piracy@microsoft.com. Additional information on software piracy is available at http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/ . Consumers also can obtain more information by calling the Business Software Alliance anti-piracy hot line at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722) or by sending e-mail to software@bsa.org.

About Microsoft

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“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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