infoTECH Feature

April 09, 2010

Stay Protected Against Software Piracy: Microsoft Offers Tips

Pirated software is a booming industry. And the boom can be attributed for a major part to people's ignorance about the cause and effects of such an illegal practice.

In a recent press release, Microsoft Corp set out to educate the consumers on many aspects of software piracy.

At the backdrop of a steep rise in the number of voluntary reports from the people who unknowingly purchased counterfeit software and wanted to bring it to the attention of Microsoft (News - Alert), this press release comes as a valuable resource for the prospective buyers of any Microsoft or other software product. In this release, Microsoft has cited a few myth about pirated software and also busted the myth with the citing of the reality.

* Myth: Software piracy isn't a serious crime. What's the big deal?

* Reality: software piracy rackets are operated by the criminals and the proceeds go to fill up the pockets of criminal syndicates. For example, in July 2007, Microsoft Corp. worked with the FBI and Chinese authorities to break up a Chinese-based syndicate believed to be the largest counterfeiting operation in the world, responsible for distributing an estimated $2 billion worth of counterfeit software to 36 countries across five continents. Eleven members of the syndicate arrested during these raids were sentenced in December 2008 to jail terms of up to six and half years.

* Myth: Software piracy doesn't hurt anyone. It's not like anyone has ever been seriously injured, right?

* Reality: Pirated software may subject the user to viruses, spyware and other malicious codes, as well as potential identity theft from transactions with unscrupulous businesses selling counterfeit software. For example, Media Surveillance, an anti-piracy solutions company based in Germany, recently downloaded several hundred pirated copies of Windows and found that 32 percent contained malicious code.

* Myth: Pirated software is cheaper than genuine software.

* Reality: Actually, high-quality counterfeit software is often sold at market price, and in some cases can be more expensive than the genuine product. From hurting your computer to exposing personal information, the counterfeit software can disrupt your life in a way that may be far more expensive than the price of a an original software. "The best way to ensure you get the best value is to simply purchase the genuine item from a reputable source," advises Microsoft.

* Myth: People who purchase counterfeit software are aware the product is pirated - they are just trying to get a good deal.

* Reality: The truth is the majority of people who purchase counterfeit software are not aware they are victims of software piracy. Take a high-quality counterfeit, for instance, which can closely resemble the real deal. The best protection against counterfeit software is to know what to look for before you go shopping.


To ensure that you are buying the original software, just check out with the following points, advises Microsoft.

1. Are you buying from a reputable reseller?

 2. Can your reseller confirm that their software would pass a Windows Genuine Advantage online validation test? 

3. Is a Certificate of Authenticity included?

4. Is a hologram CD, DVD or recovery media included?

5. Are the product packaging and documentation high-quality?

6. Is an End-User License Agreement included?

To ensure it is genuine, the buyers must visit, and check it out with a few easy clicks.

Software piracy is a byproduct of 21st century technological advancement. Only a growing awareness among consumers can check the crime. The Microsoft initiative in increasing people's awareness about the issue is definitely praiseworthy and sure to prove valuable for the new customers, uninitiated in the area of this growing

Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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