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Microsoft files lawsuits against 10 computer dealers in Malaysia

AvantiKumar | Dec. 1, 2010
Microsoft ramps up anti-piracy fight with six-month campaign to protect consumers from illegal software.

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 DECEMBER 2010 -- Software giant Microsoft has filed lawsuits against 10 Malaysia-based computer dealers as part of a six-month anti-piracy campaign to protect consumers from illegal software, said the company.

The move, which was part of the company's third annual global Consumer Action Day that highlighted education and anti-counterfeiting initiatives in more than 70 countries, was welcomed by the ministry of domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism.

The ministry's enforcement division director-general, Mohd Roslan Mahayuddin, said: "The ministry of domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism is pleased to see Microsoft taking strong action by filing civil lawsuits to protect consumers from the risk of piracy."

Microsoft filed three suits each at the Kuala Lumpur High Court and the Penang High Court, two suits at the Johor Baru High Court, and one suit each at the Shah Alam High Court and the Kuala Terengganu High Court. The lawsuits were filed against PC vendors alleged to be selling new computers pre-installed with infringing software.

The suits were filed in the last five weeks against Ace Computer Ware, E Cytech Dot Com, Equiflux Tech, Flaming IT Solution, PC3 Retail, Jasa Quad ICT, K Zone Technology, Magnetone Mediaworld, Royale Technology and Vision Base Enterprise.

The enforcement division is also taking criminal action against computer dealers found to be selling new computers installed with counterfeit software," said Mohd Roslan. "The action of copyright owners in filing civil lawsuits, this ministry in taking criminal raids, and mall owners in evicting tenants that flout the law, is a concerted effort to protect consumers from the risks of counterfeit software.

This is what Gerak Gempur Cetak Rompak (GGCR), launched in May, is all about: The industry and the government coming together to fight piracy, he said.

Since the launch of GGCR in May, the enforcement division has undertaken 34 raids nationwide against various businesses for their suspected use and/or sale of pirated software. These enforcement actions have resulted in the seizure of 212 computers and peripherals and 800 copies of suspected pirated software, making a total seizure list of RM3.4 million (US$1.07 million) in estimated value.

 Tough action to protect consumers

In addition, Microsoft said it has won another lawsuit with the Kuala Lumpur Intellectual Property High Court granting permanent injunction against D-Fusion Tech.

Microsoft instituted a civil suit against D-Fusion Tech in 2008. On 19 October 2010, after a trial, Judge Azahar Mohamed ruled against D-Fusion Tech which was found to have committed copyright infringement by pre-installing unlicensed Microsoft software, that is, Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, into the hard-disks of computers which it was selling to consumers.

The High Court awarded Microsoft a permanent injunction against D-Fusion Tech, its employees and/or agents from any further acts of infringement. It also ordered D-Fusion Tech to deliver and surrender all infringing copies or unauthorised reproductions of all Microsoft copyright works.

Microsoft Malaysia IP licensing manager, Margaret Wong, said Microsoft's six-month Consumer Action Campaign in Malaysia was focused on three fronts:

• Educating and protecting consumers from the threat of software piracy and from unscrupulous dealers;
• Supporting the Malaysian government's intellectual property efforts; and
• Supporting retailers who deal in genuine software

The tough action we are taking is focused on protecting consumers from the threat of software piracy and from unscrupulous retailers, said Wong.

According to an IDC study, counterfeit software increases the risk of exposure to viruses, worms and other damaging code including spyware and Trojan horses, she said. The best prevention of the security risks from obtaining and using pirated software is simply to use the genuine item.

In the long run, it can cost much less, Wong said, adding that the company has released the results of a broad consumer survey that asked more than 38,000 men and women in 20 countries around the world about their perceptions of counterfeit software.

"The results provide some of the clearest evidence yet that people worldwide see real danger in using it: By a three-to-one margin, consumers agreed that it is not as safe to use as genuine software," said Wong. "Data loss and ID theft are among their top concerns. There was also resounding support for government and industry to take action against counterfeiters."

"According to the data, 80 per cent of consumers polled worldwide have a range of concerns about the risks of using counterfeit software, and 70 per cent said they believe genuine software is more secure, more stable and is easier to keep up-to-date," she said.