The Laptop Factory Outlet Pty Ltd, of South Granville, NSW, has agreed to pay $50,000 in damages for infringing Microsoft's copyright by reusing Microsoft Windows Certificates of Authenticity (COA) from second-hand PCs on new PCs loaded with pirated software, announced Microsoft Australia.
In a blog post Microsoft Australia notes, "Following Microsoft's investigations, the company's directors admitted to purchasing second-hand PCs, pulling the COAs off them and reusing them on new PCs loaded with counterfeit software, which were then sold on to their customers."
The Laptop Factory Outlet (LFO) is a large retailer of PCs and laptops, which trades from premises at South Granville and its website. Anyone who has purchased a Windows PC from LFO should contact the retailer. As part of the settlement, LFO has agreed to replace the counterfeit software with genuine product and affix the associated correct COA to the PC for its customers at no extra charge.
Clayton Noble, Attorney, Microsoft Pty Limited encourages consumers to look out for the tell-tale signs of counterfeit software: "If a Certificate of Authenticity affixed to your new PC appears used or tampered with, or names a PC manufacturer that doesn't match the PC you bought, this is an indication of counterfeit software pre-loaded onto your PC."
Noble adds, "Tampering with Certificates of Authenticity can trick consumers into buying software that is not genuine and properly licensed. This can expose them to the potential dangers of counterfeit software, including the risk that it comprises malware which causes computer viruses, or key-logging software that can be used to steal identities."
- Always purchase from a reputable reseller
- If purchasing from an online auction trading site, beware. Check the online seller's price against the estimated retail value of the software. If the price for software seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be especially cautious when dealing with software sellers in other countries. The physical distance, differences in legal systems and other factors can complicate matters if the transaction goes awry.
- Avoid sellers offering "back-up" copies or compilations of software titles from different publishers on a single disk, these are clear indications that the software is illegal.
- Be sure that your security software is up-to-date, as counterfeit software may contain malware.
- When purchasing a disk containing Microsoft software go to http://www.microsoft.com/genuine to ensure it is genuine be sure the following materials are included:
- A Certificate of Authenticity
- A hologram DVD
- High-quality product packing and documentation