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12/15/2005
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Microsoft Files 10 Software Piracy Lawsuits

The lawsuits charge companies with pirating software, and individuals for selling not-for-resale software to unsuspecting purchasers.

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday reported filing 10 lawsuits against companies for allegedly pirating software and against people for selling not-for-resale software to unsuspecting purchasers.

Seven lawsuits in California, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia filed against nine individuals claim they illegally acquired the software through Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions (MAPS), a program providing eligible partners with discounted Microsoft software packages for product evaluation and internal use.

Globally, businesses and consumers will spend more than $300 billion on PC software during the next five years and nearly $200 billion worth of software will be pirated, according to some estimates.

Software piracy has a global economic impact on businesses worldwide. Cutting global piracy rate of 35 percent by 10 percentage points during four years could generate 2.4 million new jobs, $400 billion in economic growth, and $67 billion in tax revenues worldwide, according to a study released Thursday by the Business Software Association.

Researcher IDC found that every percentage point drop in software piracy could yield $40 billion in economic benefits by jumpstarting growth in the global IT sector. The study also said that while the global IT sector is projected to grow 33 percent through 2009, a 10-point reduction in software piracy could spur the global IT industry to grow 45 percent larger by 2009.

Software piracy has taken other forms. "The problem is we're confronted with peer-to-peer piracy and those selling software on eBay illegally," said Keith Kupferschmid, vice president of intellectual property and enforcement at the Software Industry and Information Association, a trade association for the software and digital content industry. "We are likely to see more court proceedings and lawsuits in the future."

Microsoft said these are the first MAPS-related lawsuits filed. Those named in the lawsuit have "repeatedly and knowingly broken the terms of the agreement," and some "have allegedly attempted to sell software from their subscriptions to consumers through online auction sites." The lawsuit names Catherine Will and Philip Parana, Buffalo, N.Y.; James Baker, San Diego; Kenneth Ham, College Station, Texas; Benjamin Hesson, Leesburg, Va.; Charles Klosek, Glenn Dale, Md.; Jimmy Huh, Encinitas, Calif.; Eric Mitchell, Santa Ana, Calif.; and Lang Ngo, San Francisco.

Three other lawsuits, filed by Microsoft against companies in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, allege counterfeit software abuses. Those companies are Auction Hut, Toledo, Ohio; Comp-Discounts Software, Boca Raton, Fla.; and Computer Techs, Grove City, Pa.

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