MS Campaign Takes Aim at Global Internet Fraud

"(Microsoft has seen an) increasing volume of complaints related to fraudulent materials and both the distributing and posting of illegal downloads, Tim Cranton, a corporate attorney with Microsoft's antipiracy group, said. "Customers are getting ripped off, paying good money for bad products."

Microsoft is leasing the tool, an intelligent Web crawler, from the software's developer, a third-party vendor which Cranton didn't identify. Microsoft has been using the tool to detect counterfeit versions of its Windows 2000 operating systems since November of last year, he added.

Since February of this year, the tool has been programmed to search for all counterfeit versions of Microsoft products, resulting in the discoveries that spurred Tuesday's announcement of both the software vendor's campaign to fight fraud on the Net and Microsoft's subsequent filing of several lawsuits in the U.S.

The tool is capable of detecting the illegal distribution of all copyrighted material, including books, movies, and music, and is able of doing so in different languages, Microsoft said. The automated online scanning tool simulates a search that someone looking for fraudulent material would run. The software is capable of searching the content of every Web site and each site's links.

"It is a solution for all content creators, because it can protect all sorts of content online... (Microsoft's) goal is to create an honest marketplace where (customers) can get trusted Microsoft content online, Cranton said.

So far, Microsoft's campaign has generated 64 criminal raids and resulted in 17 civil lawsuits being filed in 15 countries. In the U.S., where over 3,000 Internet auction postings were taken down in July, Microsoft recently announced five lawsuits and two settlements. One of the lawsuits is against Copy USA -- to date, Microsoft has shut down 600 postings on the New York company's auction site. The settlements relate to college students who had been selling illegal copies of Microsoft's software through auction sites out of Sacramento, California and Chicago, Illinois.

The US - based Business Software Alliance (BSA), a nonprofit trade group of which Microsoft is a key member, said it supports the actions which the software giant is taking. However, the BSA is not using its power of attorney to take legal action against fraudulent parties.

"This is Microsoft's own action," said Karine Elsen, director of marketing at BSA.

Many of the raids have been led or supported by the BSA, whose involvement Cranton said is instrumental to Microsoft's success, yet varies from case to case. The industry body has drawn criticism in the past for its overly close relationship with Microsoft.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Anna Scott

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?