The selection of October 21 as Global Anti-Piracy Day may have been random, but Microsoft is tying its renewed emphasis on reducing the use of unlicensed and otherwise illegal software to the larger economic fears that businesses and end users alike are dealing with right now.
The ongoing anti-piracy efforts of Microsoft center around education on the effects of pirated software on businesses and the wider economy, along with legal action ranging from civil suits to raids conducted by local law enforcement agencies, based on information and assistance provided by Microsoft.
Recent actions being highlighted today include technical training to enable law enforcement agencies in China to better identify pirated software; a seminar on the value of intellectual property to the Chilean economy; nine civil actions against alleged software pirates, plus increasing the awareness of the value of intellectual property in Portugal; two lawsuits against resellers allegedly providing pirated software in Ontario, Canada; and 38 raids against software pirates in Turkey. This map shows more activity along these lines, as well as some customer comments on their direct experiences with unlicensed software.
Microsoft officials, fully aware that they cannot stop software piracy, plan for wider awareness of the company's activities with organizations like the Business Software Alliance to scare at least some folks straight, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. That includes everyone from resellers loading counterfeit programs onto the boxes they sell to individuals selling unlicensed copies of software on eBay. Many of the latter, working as fronts for larger counterfeit software providers, may find their wares purchased and tested by Microsoft teams.
Chinese users today are reporting that their screens are going black -- the result of Windows Genuine Advantage checks finding unlicensed software running. Shanghai Daily.com says unhappy users are alleging a "monopoly act." And sites like Pirate Bay are counting on Microsoft continuing not to bring lawsuits against individuals using illegal software -- and promoting anti-anti-piracy by linking to sources of counterfeit software.
48: number of countries in which Microsoft is launching or relaunching anti-piracy education and enforcement actions today
5: number of continents on which those 48 countries can be found
20: number of resellers against which Microsoft announced legal action today, for allegedly selling pirated software
1/3: number of PCs globally, at minimum, that contain pirated, unlicensed or counterfeit software, according to Microsoft
$50 billion: Cost to businesses, globally, of pirated or unlicensed software in 2007
800-785-3448: telephone number customers can call to give Microsoft hot anti-piracy tips