Microsoft wins copyright lawsuit against Malaysian computer dealer

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After a three-day trial, Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) wins a civil lawsuit against local computer dealer Vital IT Marketing Services Sdn Bhd (“Vital IT”). The lawsuit which commenced on 31st May 2011 was against Vital IT which was accused of infringing Microsoft’s copyright in Windows 7 and Office Enterprise 2007. The accused were infringing the copyrights by pre-installing unlicensed Microsoft software into new computers sold to customers.

The Honourable Judge Dato’ Hanipah Binti Farikullah of the Kuala Lumpur Intellectual Property High Court awarded Microsoft a permanent injunction against Vital IT and also payment for additional and exemplary damages caused by the infringement.

Microsoft Corporation’s Corporate Attorney, Johnathan Selvasegaram said, “We file a lawsuit as a last resort when all negotiations fail.  In most cases, our investigations start when we receive consumer complaints that the new computer they purchased encountered problems such as validation failures and virus infections, or when we receive complaints from other computer dealers against certain outlets unfairly undercutting their price by selling new computers with pirated software.  Our lawyers will issue legal letters to seek a settlement meeting. In most cases, dealers are remorseful and agree to settle the matter amicably, which would be our preference.”

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Aside from these cases, over the last two years Microsoft has found that some well-known computer brands were also falling victim to software piracy, having pre-installed pirated software with or without the customer’s consent giving these resellers the ability to undercut their competitors by huge margins and earn larger profits, thus giving them an unfair advantage.

The court order came in line with the government’s initiative to curb cyber security issues related to pirated software which recently launched the “Safe with Genuine” campaign to educate the public on the dangers of using pirated software.

Based on the findings of the 2010 BSA Global Software Piracy Study, the commercial value of unlicensed software installed on personal computers in Malaysia reached US$606 million in 2010. This accounts for 56 per cent of software deployed on PCs. While Malaysia saw a drop of two per cent from the previous year, a testament to the impact of the Government’s ‘Gerak Gempur Cetak Rompak’ campaign launched in mid-2010.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is the world’s foremost advocate for the software industry.

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