A top Chinese copyright official chided Microsoft for launching an anti-piracy tool that nags users of counterfeit software with a black computer screen and said the company’s prices were too high. The U.S. software giant launched Windows Genuine Advantage in China last week, a program that turns the background of the Windows operating system’s desktop black if the software fails a validation test. The move prompted lawsuit threats and howls of indignation in China, where the vast majority of computer users are believed to be using pirated versions, unwittingly or not.
National Copyright Administration (NCA) Vice-Director Yan Xiaohong said his agency supported “the rights-safeguarding move taken by institutions including Microsoft,” Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying in a report late on Monday. But companies should “pay attention to the methods,” Yan said. “Whether the ‘black-out’ method should be adopted is open to question. Measures for safeguarding rights also need to be appropriate,” Yan said.
Microsoft has defended the program as a measure to protect its intellectual property and help customers determine that they have legal software. Methods to subvert the program were circulated on Chinese blogs and Internet chat-rooms within days of its launch.