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Local software pirates convicted by Microsoft SA


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.”

Source: BusinessTech

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  • Wesley Fick

    Its worth pointing out that Microsoft has relented recently against the piracy issue somewhat, perhaps because they realise now that if people don’t crack clean copies of Windows, they’ll crack copies that have hidden backdoors and trojans created by hackers.

    There’s an update on Windows 7 that allows the machine to report back to Microsoft to notify them that it’s not running genuine software. This update is optional, unlike the Windows Genuine Advantage software that people were forced to download for XP and Vista (and which, predictably, didn’t work properly like most DRM schemes).

    If that update is hidden and not installed, machines running a copied or cracked version of Windows will continue to software and security updates, but users won’t have the option of phoning Microsoft for support or asking a repair shop to work on their computer. Running unlicensed software is less of a risk now for pirates, but distribution still carries the legal ramifications of violating Microsoft’s Terms and Conditions.

    That’s why making Windows 8 free is such a fantastic idea that I don’t know why they didn’t do it earlier.

    • Byron Will-Noel

      Well said. I feel that MS price themselves out of the developing world markets. The average Thai public school teacher, for example, only makes around R2000-R3000 pm. These are exactly the people who would be needing MS software, but I think the choice whether to pirate or not becomes pretty simple when it competes against living that month.


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