Microsoft Australia wins again in piracy crusade

Microsoft has taken another scalp in its campaign to stamp out software piracy, with Cooks Construction paying out $A30,000 to the software giant in an out-of-court settlement.

          Microsoft has taken another scalp in its campaign to stamp out software piracy, with Cooks Construction paying out $A30,000 to the software giant in an out-of-court settlement.

          Microsoft learned that the construction company was using unlicensed software, and after investigations, discovered that the company had under-licensed versions of Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Office 97 between June 1997 and July 2000.

          Following the find, Microsoft decided to launch legal action against the construction, mining and earth-moving company in December last year, with Cooks Construction moving to settle the matter out of court.

          According to a statement released by Microsoft, the settlement sends "a timely reminder to the construction industry about the risks of using unlicensed software in business operations".

          Vanessa Hutley, a corporate attorney for Microsoft, reiterated the software giant's position. "Companies that use unlicensed software place their directors, and customers, at risk of enforcement and legal action," she says. "The terms of settlement with Cooks Construction show that the implications of using under-licensed software can be severe. Not only are there terms that impact the company financially, but other terms that directly impact a company's reputation."

          Hutley did not apologise for Microsoft's hard line against copyright infringement, saying that if piracy was not discouraged, it would have a long-term impact on Australia's software industry.

          "Continued software piracy discourages software developers from producing winning software applications, and therefore preventing Australia from being a nation of top-class IT and knowledge professionals."

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