Microsoft Helps Ohio Consumers Avoid Becoming Victims Of Software Piracy

CINCINNATI, Nov. 28, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced legal actions against two Cincinnati-area software resellers for the alleged distribution of counterfeit software and/or the infringement of Microsoft® software. The company has taken these steps to protect consumers from the inherent harms of acquiring counterfeit software, as well as to prevent them from spending their money on bogus software.

“We lose a significant portion of our business every year to disreputable resellers who sell pirated software,”
said Gina Marie Susana, account executive with Business Equipment Co. in Cincinnati.
“This campaign not only accelerates action against piracy but also encourages businesses to make sure they clearly understand licensing agreements so they can avoid breaking the law.”

The lawsuits allege that, despite previous requests from Microsoft to stop, the defendants persisted in distributing counterfeit software and/or infringing copies of Microsoft software to customers and/or Microsoft investigators. The complaints are as follows.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio:

  • PC Wholesalers Inc. of Cincinnati allegedly distributed counterfeit components of Office Pro 97 (Case No. C-1 00 990).

  • Ohio Custom Computer, which has locations in Fairborn and Kettering, allegedly distributed counterfeit components of Office Pro 97 and Office Pro 2000 (Case No. C-3 00 562).

Lawmakers and businesses are working together to thwart software piracy in Ohio. In addition to Microsoft’s legal actions, Minnette Cooper, vice mayor of Cincinnati, today demonstrated her desire to curb software piracy by issuing a No Piracy Day proclamation, which is designed to raise awareness of this serious issue and protect consumers in Ohio.

According to the International Planning and Research Corp., Ohio’s software piracy rate of 19.6 percent in 1999 cost the state more than 4,129 jobs and over $174.7 million in combined wages and tax revenues. This demonstrates that software piracy impacts not only unfortunate consumers and honest resellers, but every person in the state.

Microsoft works independently as well as with industry organizations such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a software industry watchdog group, to alert consumers about piracy and help businesses know how to review their software to ensure its legality. The BSA recently announced a truce period in Cincinnati for the month of November, during which time businesses are encouraged to review their software to make sure it is legal. Throughout the truce, the BSA will help companies assess their software assets without imposing penalties for past illegal software usage. Microsoft is a BSA member, and its legal actions today support the BSA’s efforts by making sure that all consumers in Cincinnati have a marketplace from which they can obtain genuine Microsoft software and licenses.

“As a leader in the software industry, Microsoft has a responsibility to protect consumers and honest resellers from the very real threat of counterfeit software,”
said Janice Block, corporate attorney for Microsoft.
“It is essential for consumers to realize the risks of using counterfeit software — possible viruses, faulty software and ineligibility for tech support — and to learn how to distinguish counterfeit software from genuine.”

Some of the warning signs that can help consumers and resellers identify counterfeit or illegal software are listed below:

  • Prices that are
    “too good to be true”

  • Suspicious methods of delivery and/or payment

  • Retail software distributed in jewel cases only, rather than full-color retail boxes

  • Software marked with a phrase, such as
    “For distribution with a new PC only”
    or
    “Special CD for licensed customers only,”
    that does not accurately describe the transaction

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 piracy is available at Microsoft’s anti-piracy Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/ . Consumers can also obtain 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.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“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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