Microsoft Busts Software Piracy Myths
Article by George Norman
On 07 Apr 2010
According to Redmond-based software giant Microsoft there are some myths related to software piracy that people believe in. One such myth says that software piracy is a victimless crime. That is what the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy uncovered in a recent survey – that people consider software piracy to be harmless and not unethical simply because nobody gets hurt.

Microsoft responds by saying: “Wrong. The reality is that all piracy, regardless of industry, can be dangerous, and software piracy is no exception.” Here are some software piracy myths that Microsoft busted.
  • Software piracy is not a serious crime, so why are you making a big deal about it?
The simple truth of the matter is that money obtained through software piracy often ends up in the pockets of criminal syndicates. International police organizations have uncovered that, especially in countries with poorly enforced intellectual property laws, criminals set up manufacturing plants and came up with sophisticated distribution methods. In July 2007 for example Microsoft and the Chinese authorities took down a counterfeiting operation responsible for distributing an estimated $2 billion worth of counterfeit software to 36 countries across 5 continents.
  • Nobody’s hurt by software piracy, right?
A lot of people get hurt – most of all the consumers. By purchasing or downloading pirated software, consumers are at risk of having their systems compromised. Because they get an inferior product, their systems are left exposed to viruses, spyware and other malware types. Not to mention that by dealing with software pirates they expose themselves to identity theft. Anti-piracy solutions company based in Germany, Media Surveillance, found that 32% of the hundreds or pirated Windows copies it downloaded contained malicious code.

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Furthermore, software pirates use infected computers to create botnets – which are then used to perform illegal internet activities without the user being aware of it.

  • But pirated software is cheaper than genuine software, isn’t it?
It is not. “High-quality counterfeit software is often sold at market price, and in some cases can be more expensive than the genuine product,” says Microsoft. “Lower-quality counterfeit may be cheaper, but what might be cheaper could actually end up exposing your personal information, hurting your computer and disrupting your.”
  • The guys that purchase pirated software know what they’re getting themselves into and they’re just purchasing pirated software to get a good deal, right?
The truth of the matter is that most consumers that get pirated software do not even know they are victims of software piracy. They actually believe they are getting the real deal.

Validating the fact that Windows or Office software you purchased is genuine is a simple process that involves a few mouse clicks. Start by heading over to http://www.microsoft.com/genuine and a few clicks later you’ll know if you have a genuine or a pirated product.
  • Consumers don’t have the power to fight software piracy, so what can be done about it?
Voluntary reports of software piracy can help Microsoft fight software piracy. “At Microsoft, customers are vital to the company’s anti-piracy initiatives, as evidenced by the fact that thousands of enforcement actions have resulted from consumer tips and reports,” said the Redmond-based software giant. “Microsoft encourages anyone who receives suspicious software to call the company’s anti-piracy hotline at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448).”

If you would like to learn more about genuine Microsoft products, licensing and labels, go to http://www.howtotell.com.



Tags: Microsoft, Software, Piracy
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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