Microsoft South Africa, in conjunction with the Hawks, has successfully arrested and convicted local software pirates who were found to be selling counterfeit and unlicensed Microsoft software. The company announced on Wednesday 12 March 2014 that a number of raids on the premises of resellers had been successfully executed by Microsoft SA’s Digital Crime Unit and those arrested will appear in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court shortly.
The culprits were identified by Microsoft piracy prevention programmes and, in the Hawks-assisted raids, around 100 counterfeit disks containing Microsoft software were seized along with a number of PCs which were running the illegal software. One suspect was arrested on site, whilst others were taken into custody at a later stage.
The suspects’ offenses carry a penalty of R5,000 per disc and/or six months imprisonment. In a recent case of similar nature a Pretoria-based Internet café owner was handed a custodial sentence of correctional supervision for two years. He was placed under house arrest for one year, and is required to perform community service (without compensation) as well as a behaviour reform course.
Marius Haman, head of Microsoft SA’s Digital Crime Unit, released the following:
“Microsoft is determined to protect our intellectual property as well as our customer and partner ecosystem from the threat and losses associated with software piracy. Our goal is to reduce those incidents in which customers end up buying PCs with unlicensed copies of Microsoft software and create a fair playing field for all partners. Often cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities in counterfeit software through malware and spyware, which exposes consumers and businesses alike, to identity theft and/or cyber-attacks.”