Consumers helped put a dent in the software piracy business today. Information they provided helped Microsoft Corp. gather the information needed to file eight lawsuits against companies in Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota and New York. Each company named has allegedly distributed counterfeit and/or infringing Microsoft® software or software components.
Microsoft responds to consumer leads from its anti-piracy hotline — 1-800-RU-LEGIT — by gathering evidence against alleged software pirates through test purchases done by “secret shoppers.” This program allows the company to selectively purchase and test the authenticity of software being distributed in the marketplace. Customers can also share information with Microsoft about sources of counterfeit and/or infringing software through Microsoft’s newly launched Windows® Genuine Advantage (WGA) program.
WGA, an anti-piracy initiative that differentiates genuine Windows software from counterfeit software, provides an online validation tool for customers to determine whether their software is genuine. Customers who find out they have been deceived into buying counterfeit software by software suppliers may qualify for free replacement software under the program.