Aimed at reducing software piracy in India, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. today announced a series of education and enforcement initiatives under the aegis of ‘Global Anti-Piracy Awareness Day’, a simultaneous launch of local and international programs to combat the sophisticated trade of pirated and counterfeit software through education initiatives and enforcement actions in 49 countries on six continents.
Microsoft India has launched a channel education and awareness initiative in collaboration with various the Channel Associations in India. The objective of this collaboration is to broaden the understanding of the dangers surrounding software piracy to the resellers to protect the interest of the consumers. The company is already partnering with Computer Association of Eastern India, Kolkata(COMPASS) and North East Computer Traders Association, Guwahati(NECTA) to educate members on the pitfalls and risks of piracy and spread the Value of Original Software. In addition, it has sent education letters to over three thousand channel resellers across the country to drive greater understanding for the Value of Original Software.
Microsoft is also investing significantly to ensure that end customers can easily access original Microsoft software and is working closely with Organized Retail Stores including Croma, Reliance Digital and Vijay Sales. Additionally, the company has launched an e-commerce platform www.buyoriginalms.com to enable customers across 52 Indian cities and towns to buy Microsoft software including Windows, Office, Xbox, games and gaming accessories as well as server products.
On the enforcement front, Microsoft has taken 15 civil enforcement actions against resellers indulging in hard-disk loading case involving Microsoft products such as Windows and MS Office. The actions were primarily based out of Bangalore, Hyderabad and Patna. On the criminal enforcement front, Microsoft along with other software companies, busted a hard core software piracy racket in the city of Bangalore with the assistance of City Crime Branch and recovered pirated software worth 20 lakhs. The persons arrested (three) were involved in the rampant piracy and were offering home delivery service to the consumers.
“Software piracy and counterfeiting is a sophisticated, global trade and Microsoft is committed to working with industry partners in India and around the world to stay a step ahead of this criminal industry,” said Mr. Vipul Sant, Director – Original Software Initiative, Microsoft India. He further added, “Sustained industry efforts have helped reduce software piracy in India by four percentage points in as many years and we are committed to continuing on this path and working closely with the Government, law enforcement agencies and our customer and partner communities to protect legitimate businesses from this illegal trade.”
Globally, the programs announced by Microsoft today include intellectual property awareness campaigns,innovation fairs, engagements with partner businesses and education forums,as well as new legal actions against criminals engaged in this illegal trade.Microsoft is taking these steps as part of its commitment to working with communities,national governments and local law enforcement,and in order to protect its customers and partners and promote the value of intellectual property as a driver of innovation.An interactive map detailing specific legal actions and education efforts being announced around the world today can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/antipiracy.
Piracy and counterfeiting pose a real and growing threat to intellectual property.As technological advances expand opportunities for criminal syndicates to manufacture and distribute fakes, Microsoft is concerned not only about the continued negative impact on economies and legitimate businesses, but the risk to consumers, as well. Counterfeit software opens consumers up to an increased risk of exposure to viruses, worms and other damaging code including spyware and Trojan horses.It hampers economic growth and poses risks to those that come into contact with it while creating a global economic loss of nearly $50 billion in 2007 (5th Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study).In India itself a ten point reduction in PC software piracy would deliver an additional 44,000 new jobs, $200 million in tax revenues, and $3.1 billion in economic growth (BSA – IDC: The Economic Benefits of Lowering PC Software Piracy 2008)
“Increasingly, highly organized criminal networks are engaging in the global trade of counterfeit software and other goods to finance their illegal activities. It has therefore become imperative for the public and private sector to partner closely and mobilize their resources towards ensuring greater appreciation for Intellectual Property and reduction in software piracy. In this context, I would like to commend Microsoft for the stance they are taking on this issue, and the wide ranging initiatives being undertaken by them,” said Ms. Lizum Mishra, Director, Business Software Alliance (BSA) India.
More than one third of PCs around the world are unlicensed or contain pirated or counterfeit software.The losses inflicted on legitimate business by this widespread software piracy are huge, and rising. According to the fifth annual global PC software piracy study, released in May 2008 by the Business Software Alliance, the economic losses from piracy increased from $7.2 billion in 2006 to over $8 billion in 2007. By addressing this illegal activity, Microsoft is helping to level the playing field for legitimate dealers who are harmed when illegal sales cut into their business, and ensuring that consumers receive the full value of licensed, original Microsoft products.
Commenting on the partnership with Microsoft, and the overall issue of software piracy as it impacts channel resellers, Mr. Mr. Pawan Jajodia, President, COMPASS said,“Not only does the end-consumer suffer greatly as a result of software piracy, it also severely impacts the livelihood and credibility of the channel community. It is heartening to see companies such as Microsoft take this issue seriously and with the help of resellers, educate end users on how to minimize this menace. This ensures that customers are better educated and get long term benefits,due to risk free use of computing power.”
Customers expect to receive original, high-quality software, but counterfeit copies often contain malicious code and/or malware and fail to operate properly. This, in turn, can present a significant risk of security breaches and lost business data, damaged reputation, and the need to invest thousands of dollars in order to recover from incidents of malicious software on individual workstations. Microsoft’s Original Software Initiative is aimed at helping businesses and consumers understand and avoid the risks of using counterfeit software. Tools such as the Windows® Validation Assistant and Office Genuine Advantage help to quickly verify whether the copy of Windows or Microsoft Office software on a person’s computer is valid. Should the software end up being counterfeit, consumers are provided with information on what they can do to secure a legitimate copy of the software.