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Dabsxchange bans secondhand MS software

Auction site moves on piracy

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Online auction site Dabsxchange is to stop people offering second-hand Microsoft software for sale on the site, because it believes the vast majority of it is likely to be pirated.

Dave Atherton, managing director of reseller Dabs.com, which runs Dabsxchange, said it was making the stance because people are offering Office packages and Windows at such low prices that they must be dodgy. When OEM copies of Office or Windows CDs are for sale for between £10-£15 the "implication must be they are counterfeit", he told us.

Atherton said has was not acting under pressure from Microsoft, which he described as sometimes "bullying" resellers over software piracy, but out a desire by Dabsxchange itself to "crack down on piracy" and apply a duty of care to what it sells.

Sales of secondhand Microsoft software account for a tiny fraction of Dabsxchange revenues - less than one per cent - but a disproportionate instance of piracy which he described as "endemic" with sales of secondhand software by individuals.

Dabsxchange is working with its ecommerce suppliers to implement the policy of automatically withdrawing Microsoft software auctions.

Atherton stressed that sales of other software, such as packages from Electronic Arts or Adobe, are much less prone to piracy in his experiences, and auctions of secondhand software from these vendors will continue to run.

Other vendors we spoke to were not considering following Dabsxchange's lead in taking down auctions of secondhand Microsoft watch.

A spokeswoman for QXL.com, the European auction sitr, said it prefers to work with the Business Software Alliance and reported that it had "got past" the issue by working with Microsoft on the problem. QXL.com monitors "suspect activity" involving auctions on its site through its relationship with Auction Watch, she added. ®

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