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Microsoft is touting the success of its anti-piracy hotline as a way of stamping out counterfeit software, which it said accounts for 26 per cent of the market in the UK.

The freephone hotline, which is receiving more than 500 calls a month, is designed to allow people to blow the whistle on companies or resellers whom they suspect of using or selling illegal software.

Most of the reports to the hotline have been against dealers suspected of selling or providing illegal product and licenses, rather than end-users flouting the law.

Julia Phillpot, Microsoft's anti-piracy manager, warned resellers to stop selling counterfeit goods. "They should be very careful. We're really clamping down," she said.

She singled out dealers still selling Office 97. "We don't make it anymore. It's vey unlikely there's much legitmate stock left in the channel."

A quick flick through the big monthly computer mags reveals a few ads from dealers still pushing the software.

Phillpot added that "virtually all UK businesses used unlicensed or counterfeit software."

Recent cases suggest that the courts are getting tougher on those supplying counterfeit software.

For example, counterfeit mice imported from Taiwan have cost a company £6,300 in fines following raids at MST Associates in Windsor and at one of their customers offices, MorexPlus Technologies. HM Customs at Heathrow also seized 1,000 counterfeit copies of Windows 95 OEM, destined for MST.

Microsoft is now seeking compensation from MST. MorexPlus pleaded guilty to offences relating to these and other counterfeit goods and agreed to pay Microsoft substantial damages. ®

External links

Microsoft's advice on how to report piracy to it

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