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RealTime IT News

Counterfeit Microsoft Software on eBay?

You can buy "it" or sell "it" on eBay, but if "it" is pirated Microsoft software, you should probably get yourself a lawyer.

Microsoft is currently pursuing at least eight separate lawsuits against alleged software pirates who sold counterfeit Microsoft software on eBay. The alleged pirates are located in Hawaii, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York and Washington.

EBay purchasers who attempted to validate their auction wins with the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) service discovered the alleged pirates.

WGA officially went into full service in July as a way to help Microsoft and its users determine whether software is genuine. In the eBay cases users failed the WGA validation and then notified Microsoft.

"We take it very seriously when someone fails validation and then responds by identifying where they received counterfeit or infringing products," Matt Lundy, attorney at Microsoft, told internetnews.com.

The eBay lawsuits are not Microsoft's first attempts at preventing the illegal distribution of its software on auction sites. Last year Microsoft said that nearly 50,000 requests were made to auction sites to remove offending auctions.

In these new cases, though, Lundy explained that Microsoft is taking action directly against the sellers of counterfeit software.

"We believe in the vitality of the online auction place as a means to sell and distribute lawful products worldwide," Lundy commented. "We will take action directly against sellers that abuse that opportunity and sell counterfeit or infringing products that hurt our customers, business partners and impair or intellectual property rights."

For the unsuspecting auction winners of the counterfeit software, it's not all bad, though.

"Folks that fail WGA activation have the opportunity to purchase discounted software and get the benefits of genuine software," Lundy said. "What we're trying to do here is make sure that our customers aren't defrauded and get all the benefits of genuine software."