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Plurk Might Sue Microsoft For Code Theft

Chinese microblogging service says it may take legal action in wake of plagiarism incident.

Paul McDougall

December 17, 2009

2 Min Read

A microblogging service that had parts of its Web site copied by a Microsoft-operated rival said it may sue the software maker.

"We are currently looking at all possibilities on how to move forward in response to Microsoft's recent apology statement," wrote Alvin Woon, lead designer at microblogging and social networking site Plurk, in a blog post Thursday.

Microsoft earlier in the week admitted that its MSN Juku service stole code and content from Plurk. Both sites serve the Asian market.

Microsoft's mea culpa blamed the incident on a third-party vendor it hired to create Juku. "The vendor has now acknowledged that a portion of the code they provided was indeed copied," Microsoft said in a statement.

"This was in clear violation of the vendor's contract with the MSN China joint venture, and equally inconsistent with Microsoft's policies respecting intellectual property" Microsoft said.

But the apology may not be sufficient for Woon and his colleagues at Plurk.

"We are still thinking of pursuing the full extent of our legal options available due to the seriousness of the situation. Basically, Microsoft accepts responsibility but they do not offer accountability," said Woon.

"This event wasn’t just a simple matter of merely lifting code; Due to the nature of the uniqueness of our product and user interface, it took a good amount of deliberate studying and digging through our code with the full intention of replicating our product user experience, functionality and end results," Woon added.

"This product was later launched and heavily promoted by Microsoft with its big marketing budget," he said.

Microsoft has since pulled Juku off the Internet in light of the incident, and has not stated when, or if, it will return.

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About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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