Microsoft Commends Chinese Court in Sentencing Ringleaders of World’s Largest Software Counterfeiting Syndicate

December 31, 2008

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — The Futian People’s
Court in Shenzhen, China, handed down sentences to 11 ringleaders of the
world’s largest software counterfeiting syndicate today. The sentences,
ranging from 1.5 to 6.5 years, include the longest sentences handed down for
this type of crime in China’s history. Based in the southern China province of
Guangdong, members of the syndicate were arrested by Chinese authorities in
July 2007, following an international investigation led by China’s Public
Security Bureau (PSB) and the FBI. Microsoft and hundreds of Microsoft
customers and partners also provided information which assisted in the

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO)

The 11 accused were part of a criminal syndicate responsible for
manufacturing and distributing more than an estimated $2 billion (U.S.) worth
of high-quality counterfeit Microsoft software. The counterfeit software,
found in 36 countries and on five continents, contained fake versions of 19 of
Microsoft’s most popular products and was produced in at least 11 languages.

“Microsoft greatly appreciates the work of China’s PSB and the FBI in
taking strong enforcement action against this global software counterfeiting
syndicate,” said David Finn, associate general counsel for Worldwide
Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. “Unfortunately, software
counterfeiting is a global, illegal business without borders. Criminals may be
on the other side of the globe and may not even speak the same language, but
they prey upon customers and partners all over the world. This case is a
testament to the importance of Microsoft’s commitment to close collaboration
with government bodies and local law enforcement agencies around the world to
bring these criminals to justice, wherever they may be.”

“Software piracy negatively impacts local economic growth, stifling
innovation, taking business opportunity away from legitimate resale channels
and putting consumers and partners at risk. Enforcement of intellectual
property rights is critical to fostering an environment of innovation and fair
competition,” said Fengming Liu, vice president of Microsoft Greater China
Region. “Over the years, Microsoft has been working closely with the Chinese
government to promote intellectual property rights. Thanks to the actions of
the Chinese government, we have seen a significant improvement in the
environment for intellectual property rights in China. Moving forward, we will
continue to work with the relevant authorities in China to ensure that
counterfeit software does not undermine the development of China’s knowledge

“This case is also a strong demonstration of the improvement in criminal
law legislation and enforcement of intellectual property rights in China,”
said Zhao Bingzhi, president of the Criminal Law Research Committee of the
China Law Society and vice president of the China Group of the International
Association of Penal Law.

Evidence provided by Microsoft customers through the Microsoft piracy
reporting tool proved to be essential in tracking down this criminal
syndicate. Tens of thousands of customers used Microsoft’s anti-piracy
technology in Windows Genuine Advantage to identify the software they were
using as fake. In addition, more than 100 Microsoft resellers played a key
part in helping to trace the counterfeit software and provided physical
evidence critical to building the case, such as e-mail messages, invoices and
payment slips.

“Customs administrations around the world have seized thousands of
counterfeit Microsoft software produced by criminal syndicates,” said

Christophe Zimmermann, the coordinator of the fight against counterfeiting and
piracy at the World Customs Organization. “The action today by the court in
China sends a very clear message to counterfeiters that governments around the
world are serious about stopping this form of criminality and are willing to
step forward to protect their citizens from the harm caused by counterfeit

The Microsoft Genuine Software Initiative

Microsoft’s collaboration with government and law enforcement is part of
the company’s global efforts to combat software piracy through its Genuine
Software Initiative. Microsoft launched the Genuine Software Initiative in
2006, and since then it has intensified its efforts to protect customers and
channel partners from the risks of counterfeit software through an increased
focus on education, engineering and enforcement. More information about
Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative is available at

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

Source: newswire

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