piracy, antipiracy

Microsoft wins $304,994 in Australian software piracy case

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia has awarded Microsoft $304,994.95 in damages after Paul McLane, trading as Software Paul, was caught selling counterfeit Microsoft software.

Legal ruling

This is not the first time McLane has been in trouble for selling counterfeit software. The court ordered McLane to pay $4994.95 in compensatory damages plus $300,000 in addition damages due to his repeated infringements.

The Court has also imposed orders to restrain him from infringing copyright in the future.

McLane previously had 1473 counterfeit discs seized by the Victorian Police in 2005 and a further 799 in 2006.

McLane was caught by Microsoft's intellectual property investigators for selling counterfeit copies of Microsoft Windows and Office during sweeps carried out in 2012 across technology swap meets and markets in the Melbourne area.

As part of the investigation, Microsoft analyzed four copies of counterfeit Windows and two copies of counterfeit Office sold by McLane, finding that one Windows copy and both Office samples contained malware; the Windows Update on all four samples was disabled, while Windows Firewall had been tampered with making activation impossible. One sample had User Account Control set to "Never notify" and another sample had Remote Desktop turned on and a modified hosts file, which can be a vector for attack by malware.

"The risks of deploying pirated software are serious, ranging from system crashes and data loss to identity theft. We encourage all consumers to purchase their software from reputable retailers they can trust," Microsoft Australia legal counsel, Clayton Noble, said. "According to an IDC study, consumers will spend 1.5 billion hours and $US22 billion on resolving issues created by the malware concealed in pirated software in 2013, while over a quarter using counterfeit solutions will have their PC infected with a virus."

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