KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft Corp has filed lawsuits against 10 computer dealers in Malaysia, claiming copyright infringement. The legal actions by the software giant are part of a six-month campaign that is aimed at protecting consumers from pirated software.
Microsoft filed three suits each in the Kuala Lumpur High Court and Penang High Court; two suits in the Johor Baru High Court, and one suit each at the Shah Alam High Court and Kuala Terengganu High Court.
The vendors are alleged to have been selling new computers that were pre-installed with software pirated from Microsoft.
Microsoft said the campaign is in conjunction with its annual Consumer Action Day that highlights its education and anti-counterfeiting initiatives in more than 70 countries. It concludes in May next year.
The move has the full support of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism.
“We are pleased to see Microsoft taking strong action by filing civil lawsuits to protect consumers from the risks of piracy,” said Mohd Roslan Mahayuddin, enforcement division director-general at the ministry.
He said a concerted effort by copyright owners, the ministry’s enforcement division, and shopping mall owners is needed if consumers are to be protected.
The division has made 34 raids nationwide against various businesses for suspected use and/or sale of pirated software so far this year.
This resulted in the seizure of a total of 212 computers and peripherals (worth an estimated RM618,000), and 800 copies of suspected pirated software (valued at about RM2.8mil).
Microsoft also announced that it has won a civil suit, filed in the Kuala Lumpur Intellectual Property High Court against a computer dealer in 2008.
The Consumer Action Day campaign focuses 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.
“We are taking a tough stand for the sake of consumers,” said Margaret Wong, the intellectual property licensing manager at Microsoft.
An IDC study indicates that counterfeit software increases the risk of exposure to computer viruses, worms and other damaging code, including spyware and Trojan programs. “The best prevention is to use genuine software,” Wong said.
Consumers who suspect that they have been sold pirated software can contact antipiracy watchdog, the Business Software Alliance at 1-800-887-800, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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