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Be Wary of Pirated Softwares

 Microsoft Singapore urges consumers to be wary of illegal software
Posted: 11 September 2009 1859 hrs

SINGAPORE : Microsoft Singapore has urged consumers to be careful when purchasing computers to ensure that they do not unintentionally buy systems preinstalled with illegal software.

The warning came after police raided a retailer suspected of selling laptops loaded with pirated software at the COMEX 2009 computer and IT exhibition on Friday.

The police seized 55 China-made Losang-branded laptops installed with unlicensed Microsoft Windows XP Professional software worth an estimated S$31,240.

The laptops were affixed with recycled Certificates of Authenticity (COA). A COA is a label intended to help buyers determine whether the software they are purchasing is genuine and should not be sold independently of the software.

The raid followed a tip-off received through the Business Software Alliance (BSA) anti-piracy hotline on Thursday.

Jonathan Selvasegaram, Corporate Attorney for Intellectual Property, Microsoft South East Asia, said swift action was important to ensure that consumers are protected.

He said: "Our concern is that consumers may be duped into buying computer systems that appear legitimate but are instead preloaded with counterfeit software. Pirated software can pose a serious security threat, and consumers may unwittingly be using computers with illegal programs that can lead to a corrupted system, loss of data, and even identity theft."

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Furthermore, counterfeit software does not provide users with access to important Microsoft security upgrades, technical support, and special offers.

Mr Selvasegaram said investigations revealed that several hundred units of the Losang laptops containing unlicensed software may have been imported into Singapore for sale during COMEX.

"Consumers should inspect the COAs on new PCs before purchase to ensure that they are buying systems with genuine software, and be wary of suspicious looking COAs. They must also ensure that the systems come with accompanying product collaterals such as the software CD-ROM, manuals, and end-user licensing agreements," he added.

Under Singapore's Copyright Act, parties found guilty of selling counterfeit software can face a fine not exceeding S$10,000 for each article, up to a maximum fine of S$100,000, or a jail term not exceeding five years, or both.

According to a study by the Business Software Alliance and IDC Global, Singapore had a PC software piracy rate of 36 per cent in 2008, with losses amounting to US$163 million.

 

Source : Channelnewsasia.com

 

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