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Microsoft Reaches Settlement with Computer Firms


Microsoft Reaches Settlement with Auckland Computer Resellers Over Copyright Infringement

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Wednesday, January 15, 2003: Two Auckland-based computer dealers have settled with Microsoft for selling unlicensed Microsoft software on personal computers.

Microsoft received information via its anti-piracy hotline that Global Computers Limited and Ezycom Computers Limited were suspected of unlawfully hard loading versions of its software onto personal computers.

Investigations showed the dealers had sold PCs installed with unauthorised software. Evidence obtained confirmed that Microsoft software had been installed on personal computers without the original disk and/or CD ROM documentation and licenses being supplied. On the basis of this evidence, Microsoft sent warning letters to Ezycom Computers and issued Court proceedings against Global Computers for copyright infringement.

Sarah Kaisser, Microsoft's Law and Corporate Affairs spokesperson says that the companies have agreed to settle any claims with Microsoft.

"The companies have made compensation payments and signed an agreement not to infringe Microsoft copyright in the future."

Anna Lundon, Intellectual Property Manager for Microsoft New Zealand, explains that the damage is more than just financial.

"Piracy results in missed business opportunities, lost jobs and decreased revenue for the IT industry as a whole. Currently, our local software developers are gaining considerable international attention for their talent and creativity and at Microsoft we are keen to help this growing industry by promoting and supporting the protection of intellectual property."

Lundon adds currently pirated software is estimated to account for 26 per cent of all software used in New Zealand, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an international industry body.

"This means our local IT industry is losing approximately $40 million each year due to illegal software use."
Lundon encourages anyone who suspects illegal use of software by companies or individuals to call Microsoft's toll-free anti-piracy hotline on 0800 PIRACY (0800 747 229) or fill in an online form at http://www.microsoft.com/nz/piracy/report_piracy.aspx.

"Microsoft has also developed a checklist for customers to help them assess whether their software is genuine and a Software Asset Management guide to help businesses perform software audits and implement a software asset management program. "This information can be found at http://www.nzsmartbusiness.co.nz"
Since July 2002 Microsoft has reviewed over 240 calls to its New Zealand Anti Piracy Hotline in relation to organisations' misuse of Microsoft software. Microsoft continues to assist organisations through education in understanding piracy; however, at times and as with these two cases, stronger action needs to be taken.

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