Software giant Microsoft has filed 21 lawsuits against alleged pirates spread across 14 American states. Its goal is to protect customers from the risks of pirated and counterfeit software. It also mentions that software piracy has resulted in over $8 billion of economic loss in the US alone.
These alleged pirates aren’t the kind of people using BitTorrent downloads to cobble together a couple of Counter-Strike capable PCs out of their spare components. No, no, these are the worst kind of offenders – stores that are selling unlicensed copies of Microsoft software pre-installed on new machines. Very cheeky.
The practise, know as hard-disk loading by the unimaginative, saves sellers money because they are selling the same program multiple times. Buyers are then not provided with the relevant discs, manuals or serial keys and often don’t get the software updates and support they have paid for. Plus you’ll get a very annoying popup in the corner whinging at you because your computer is at risk and needs an update.
However, although it seems very clear cut when it comes to selling multiple copies of the same software on new PCs, but there’s more of a grey area with second hand devices. On Vancouver computer shop owner, Simpson, has been targeted by one of the lawsuits. “I sell used systems all the time,” he told one newspaper. “I just clean ‘em up and kick ‘em out the door. I’m not real sure what the deal is here.”
That’ll be something for the courts to decide. Out of court settlements seem very likely in many of the 21 lawsuits, however a battle in open court relating to second hand software could yield some interesting results. Also: IPHONE! 3G!