Microsoft has filed 52 lawsuits against alleged software pirates.
The software giant, which has led an active campaign against counterfeit copies of its software over the years, announced Tuesday that it filed cases against resellers in countries that ranged from China to the Netherlands to the United Kingdom and United States.
Microsoft noted that in 15 of the 52 cases, the software involved could allegedly be traced to a massive commercial counterfeit syndicate that Chinese authorities and the FBI broke up this summer. Most of the alleged illicit sales were conducted through e-commerce sites.
Counterfeit copies of their digital goods cost members of the worldwide software industry an estimated $40 billion annually, according to Microsoft. The tech titan also cited a study conducted by the Business Software Alliance and market researcher IDC that put the global PC software piracy rate at 35 percent last year.
Redmond also unveiled a "Microsoft Buying Guide" on eBay as a tool for educating consumers about counterfeit applications. In addition, it maintains an information site with tips on how to detect pirated software.
Through users' tips, Microsoft said, it also gleaned enough information to refer 22 criminal cases to various law enforcement agencies around the world.
.....Complaint Against Microsoft
Anti-Piracy Tool Draws Chinese Suit, Complaint Against Microsoft
A man from Beijing has sued Microsoft while a Chinese lawyer asked the government to fine the U.S. firm $1 billion for turning black the desktop screen of computers installed with pirated software.
A Beijing man surnamed Liu asked the Haidian District People's Court to compel Microsoft to remove the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program on his PC and the permanent desktop screen warning "You may be a victim of counterfeit software."
"Microsoft has no right to judge whether the installed software is pirated or not. It has no right to penalize users by intruding on their computers," said Liu, according to the People's Daily Online.
Beijing lawyer Dong Zhengwei, 35, asked last week the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to fine Microsoft. He also asked the Ministry of Public Security to order Microsoft to stop what he described as hacking and infringement of privacy perpetrated by the company through its WGA.
Meanwhile, the China Computer Federation condemned Microsoft on Tuesday for what it called "unsolicited remote control of computers" since introducing WGA in China last week to combat illegally copying of its software for sale to the public at a cheaper price.
"If a company believes others have infringed their intellectual property rights, it can collect evidence and take judicial measures to deal with the infringement according to Chinese law," the federation said in a statement.
The WGA does not stop computers using the Windows XP operating system from functioning. The warning label can be erased but reappears every one hour.