The company has filed a lawsuit at a federal court accusing unknown AT&T subscriber(s) of activating pirated copies of its operating system and other software products. The AT&T account was tracked by the tech giant’s own cyberforensics team due to “suspicious activation patterns”.
Although Microsoft is known worldwide as one of the most pirated software vendors, the company doesn’t have a long track record of dealing with individual infringers. Actually, a couple months ago, the company even noted that piracy could sometimes even act as a conversion tool. Apparently, this didn’t mean that all pirates could have their way. The tech giant’s cybercrime center seems to be keeping a close eye on the unauthorized use of Microsoft’s software products.
A few days ago, the company has filed a copyright infringement complaint against an individual (or a group) who activated pirated copies of Windows 7 and Office 10 from an IP address assigned to the AT&T subscription account. You may think that pirated copies are hard for the company to detect, but Microsoft explained that it uses modern technology to track software piracy. The software developer described its investigative approach as cyberforensics: its team looks for activation patterns and characteristics that make it likely that certain IP-addresses are engaged in illegal copying.
For example, the company analyzes product key activation data received from users when they activate the software. This data includes the IP address from which the key has been activated. By the way, such reports are sent by users voluntarily. The lawsuit claims that the defendants have activated numerous copies of Microsoft software products, including Windows 7 and Office 2010, with suspicious registration keys. The company believes that those were stolen from its supply chain, then used without permission from the refurbisher channel, and more often than the Microsoft license permitted.
Now the company wants the court to allow it to identify the individual or a group of them responsible for the copyright violations in order to compensate the damage it has suffered. According to Microsoft’s complaint, it looks like the defendant is not an average user, but perhaps a person selling PCs with pirated software. Well, let’s see what the court has to tell the company.