Microsoft is scanning the Internet looking for pirated copies of its software. Six months ago, Microsoft launched a worldwide antipiracy campaign using its proprietary Internet Scanning Tool that helps the company locate potentially illegal copies of its software for sale on Web sites, particularly at online auctions.
Today, Microsoft said that in the last 6 months, the company has taken legal action against 47,000 auction postings and Internet sites for allegedly offering counterfeit and illegal copies of its software. Over the last 2 years, Microsoft has taken action against some 88,000 sites. According to Microsoft, since January 2000, the company has settled 73 cases where judgments totaled more than $17.7 million.
"As the courts have indicated with the recent Napster ruling, the importance of protecting intellectual property in today's digital age can't be underestimated," said Brad Smith, deputy general counsel for worldwide sales at Microsoft. "As distribution models change and more content moves to the Internet, it's critical that we continue to take steps to protect creators' intellectual property rights and foster broad economic growth."
Microsoft said it has recently filed five news civil action cases against US companies in California, Illinois, Tennessee, and Michigan. In February 2001, Singapore police seized a van loaded with 20,000 counterfeit CDs containing software from Business Software Alliance (BSA) members.
According to a BSA study, in 1999, software piracy cost businesses $12 billion in revenue worldwide. That figure translates into nearly 107,000 lost jobs and more than $5 billion in unrealized wages in the United States alone.