Microsoft Australia smacks reseller with $1 million fine for software piracy

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Microsoft Australia smacks reseller with $1 million fine for software piracy

Online reseller Moonbox Software has been ordered to pay nearly $1 million in damages to Microsoft Australia for selling illegal software keys.

Moonbox sold more than 3600 pirated product keys for 17 different Microsoft products on its website, including Windows 10 and Office Home and Business. Moonbox's website, along with a UK website, were shut down shortly after legal proceedings began.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia ordered Moonbox to pay $957,895 in damages to Microsoft Australia, which was comprised of compensation for the infringements and additional damages for the flagrancy of the offenses.

Moonbox's four directors were also permanently banned from representing themselves as lawful resellers of Microsoft software.

Microsoft Australia's senior attorney Clayton Noble said the company was committed to stopping pirated software resellers, and is willing to take resellers to court in order to pay for the appropriate damages.

"Microsoft is determined help maintain a level playing field for our Australian resellers and other partners that do the right thing, and we work closely with our colleagues globally to target sellers of pirated software in different jurisdictions," he said.

In the past nine months, Microsoft Australia has been awarded more than half a million dollars in software piracy cases, not including the most recent order with Moonbox.

In August 2016, Victorian reseller Software Oz agreed to pay $300,000 for selling illegal copies of Microsoft Visio Professional 2013 and Project Professional 2013, which Microsoft Australia labelled a "landmark settlement".

That same month, XXIT settled for $25,000 in damages to Microsoft after admitting it sold pirated copies of Windows 7 Professional. A third settlement with Sydney reseller Bytestech was reached for an undisclosed amount.

A month later, Victorian OEM reseller PC Case Gear agreed to pay Microsoft $250,000 in an out-of-court settlement for allegedly obtaining 4000 Windows 7 Certificates of Authenticity that belonged to the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Program.

Noble said Microsoft was investigating numerous other resellers for selling pirated Microsoft products.

"The general rule to remember is that if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. But people who sell counterfeit software often advertise it at just below the normal retail price so you think you're simply getting a good deal. So price is important, but it's not the only thing you need to think about."

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