Microsoft reseller pays $250,000 over copyright infringement

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Microsoft reseller pays $250,000 over copyright infringement

Victoria-based PC Case Gear will pay Microsoft Australia $250,000 out of court settlement.

OEM reseller PC Case Gear was allegedly infringing Microsoft's copyright by obtaining 4000 Microsoft Windows 7 Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) that belonged to the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Program (MAR).

Microsoft claims this happened over 12 months, and that PC Case Gear would have obtained those COAs from an "unauthorised party".

"PC Case Gear used the product keys from those MAR COAs to install Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium on new personal computers," Microsoft stated today.

According to the vendor, MAR COAs and product keys are only licensed for use by authorised refurbishers in the MAR program for the purpose of installing Windows operating systems on refurbished second-hand machines for resale only.

PC Case Gear has co-operated on resolving the matter and will continue to be a "valued" Microsoft partner as "both parties are pleased to have resolved this matter".

According to Microsoft, PC Case Gear had compromised the integrity of Microsoft's distribution channels by acquiring the certificates and had seriously effected other system builders who obtained genuine Microsoft software from authorised distributors.

"The risks of deploying software of unknown origin or pirated software are serious, ranging from system crashes, malware and data loss to identity theft," Microsoft Australia senior attorney Clayton Noble said.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia ordered by consent that Victoria-based reseller Mount IT, which trades as AV2PC, and second respondent Kenneth John Skeats, AV2PC directir, pay a total of $22,000 to Microsoft for damages for infringement of copyright

AV2PC allegedly installed unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows 7 onto new PCs infringing Microsoft's copyright.

According to Microsoft the reseller used product keys that were printed onto counterfeit certificate of authenticity labels.

The reseller operates from its website, eBay store and a physical store.

"These two results underpin the fact that Microsoft is serious about protecting its intellectual property as well as protecting its customers from the security risks involved in purchasing Microsoft software from unauthorised sources," said Noble.

In August, Microsoft also settled with three resellers over the trade of unauthorised products and also copyright infringements.

Victorian business Software Oz, registered as Easy Peas Pty Ltd, agreed to pay $300,000 in damages to Microsoft for selling unauthorised copies of software and product keys.

PC-Tek, registered as XXIT Pty Ltd, settled for a $25,000 damages payout to Microsoft. And Sydney reseller Bytestech, registered as Jian Ping Wang, was accused of illegally copying Windows 10 and Office Professional Plus 2013 onto hard drives.

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