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August 5, 2009

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Microsoft launches city case after piracy swoop

MICROSOFT Corp has taken legal action against three Shanghai companies over software piracy.

The move shows that Microsoft continues to widen its net to encompass not only IT giants, but small fry as well.

Representatives from a city computer retailer and its suppliers yesterday faced Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, with Microsoft as the plaintiff.

Microsoft is seeking about 320,000 yuan (US$46,816) compensation from retailer Shanghai Changfeng Information Technology Co Ltd, its supplier Shanghai Chenyue Information Technology Co Ltd and Shanghai Ziyue Network Technology Co Ltd, which transported computers to the retailer.

Microsoft told the court that Changfeng had long installed pirated software in computers before selling them.

It entrusted an intellectual property institution to buy four compatible computers from Changfeng in a city computer market last October. Microsoft Windows XP Professional had been illegally installed in all four of them.

Microsoft said all defendants should bear legal responsibility for the copyright violation because it had no way of finding out which did the installations.

It demanded that all copyright infringement be halted.

"Microsoft has never authorized the defendants to install or duplicate the software," You Minjian, Microsoft's attorney, said in yesterday's court hearing.

The defendants all denied installing the pirated software.

Chengfeng said the software had been installed in the computers before it bought them from the supplier. It had "no idea" who installed the software.

Chenyue said it just sold computer accessories to Changfeng and Chengfeng assembled them.

Ziyue said it had nothing to do with the case as it had simply transported the goods.

All three said Microsoft's compensation figure was too high and questioned evidence about its actual losses.

The court did not announce a verdict yesterday.


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