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Microsoft files lawsuits to stop alleged software smuggling

The software giant has filed nine lawsuits and issued more than 50 cease and desist letters in efforts to shut down alleged international software smuggling operations.

world Updated: Apr 06, 2007 10:28 IST

Microsoft has filed several law suits in the United States in an effort to stop software intended for students and schools being sold to unsuspecting retail consumers.

The software giant said it has filed nine lawsuits and issued more than 50 cease and desist letters in efforts to shut down alleged international software smuggling operations.

Companies in Jordan and elsewhere have made millions of dollars in illegal profits by diverting specially priced academic software from education programmes, the law suits allege. This software was passed off to consumers in the United States who lacked the licence to use it, they contend.

The lawsuits were filed in federal courts in California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Nevada and Montana States.
"To those who say software piracy is a victimless crime, I would say this case tells a different story," said Bonnie MacNaughton, senior attorney at Microsoft.

"The defendants in these lawsuits and others are charged with profiting from selling clearly marked educational software to unsuspecting retail customers who were not licenced to use it -- and potentially depriving students and schools of the opportunity to benefit from the latest technologies."

Microsoft routinely works with governments and public agencies around the world to provide heavily discounted software to the global academic community. Through these programmes, students and schools are provided with access to the latest technologies that they might not otherwise be able to afford.