London, England – 03 February 2014 : Microsoft Corporation announced today that Discount-Licensing Limited, a UK-based reseller of second-hand software, has settled copyright infringement proceedings brought against it by Microsoft. The High Court action arose from Discount-Licensing’s unlawful resale of second-hand licences of Microsoft software, which in this case it had been illegitimately importing into Europe.
Discount-Licensing has admitted that its importation and resale infringed Microsoft’s copyright, and it is now bound by a Court Order regulating its future conduct. In settling the claim, which related to hundreds of customers and thousands of software licences, Discount-Licensing has paid Microsoft a significant sum as a contribution to Microsoft’s damages and legal costs. In addition, Discount-Licensing has abandoned its counterclaim, which related to software first sold onto the European market.
The purchase of second-hand software poses risks for software customers, given the complexity of the transactions and the surrounding legal uncertainty. In these proceedings, the licences were being unlawfully imported into Europe by Discount-Licensing. However, there are many other reasons why a particular resale transaction might be illegitimate.
Juan Hardoy, Assistant General Counsel, Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) at Microsoft explains:
“Second-hand software buyers are rarely in a position to tell whether or not the transaction is legitimate, but it is they who bear the consequences and the potential liability if it turns out to be illegitimate. Microsoft is absolutely committed to protecting customers from these risks. Microsoft will therefore continue to bring action against those who infringe its rights and distribute its software unlawfully”.
Microsoft is unable to give assurances to any buyer of second-hand software of its authenticity or legitimacy. Buyers of used software bear the risk that the software is illegitimate – having paid for the second-hand software, they may find that they have to pay licence fees not only for their infringing use but also for any licences they need going forward. In addition, any pirated software may not comprise all the files required to run the software, and may even contain harmful viruses or other malware that could infect the buyer’s computer systems.
A customer who purchases software from Microsoft and Microsoft partners acquires it free of the risks outlined above.
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