Microsoft SA nails software pirates

Microsoft South Africa and the Hawks have successfully arrested and convicted local software pirates, the company said on Wednesday (12 March 2014).

In co-operation with the Hawks, Microsoft SA’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) executed raids on the premises of various resellers who were identified by Microsoft piracy prevention programmes as being involved in the selling of counterfeit and/or unlicensed Microsoft software.

In the most recent enforcement action, around 100 counterfeit disks containing Microsoft software were seized along with a number of PCs, which were operating on unlicensed Microsoft software, the company said.

According to a statement released by Microsoft, one suspect was arrested on site, while others were also rounded up.

The suspects are due to appear in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for dealing in Counterfeit Goods, which is an offense that carries a penalty of R5,000 per disc and/or 6 months imprisonment.

Caught and convicted

In a recent case, a Hatfield (Pretoria) Internet café owner was handed a custodial sentence of correctional supervision for 2 years.

He was placed under house arrest for a period of 12 months and is required to complete a behaviour reform course and perform community service, without compensation.

“Microsoft is determined to protect our intellectual property as well as our customer and partner ecosystem from the threat and losses associated with software piracy,” said Marius Haman, Microsoft SA DCU lead.

“Our goal is to reduce those incidents in which customers end up buying PCs with unlicensed copies of Microsoft software and create a fair playing field for all partners,” Haman said.

“Often cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities in counterfeit software through malware and spyware, which exposes consumers and businesses alike, to identity theft and/or cyber-attacks.”

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Microsoft SA nails software pirates