Trader fined $304k for selling fake Windows software

Paul McLane infringed copyright from 2006 to June 2013, says Microsoft

Microsoft Australia has won a case in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia against Melbourne trader Paul McLane who produced and sold counterfeit copies of Windows and Office software.

McLane, who traded as Software Paul, was ordered to pay $4994.95 in compensatory damages plus $300,000 in additional damages for repeated copyright infringements against Microsoft. The Court also imposed a restraining order which prevents him from selling pirated software in the future.

McLane was identified by Microsoft’s intellectual property investigators as selling fake copies of Windows and Office software during sweeps carried out in 2012.

According to the investigators, one copy of Windows contained malware while another Windows sample had remote desktop turned on and modified hosts file which could be used to infect a PC with malware.

The Court also found that McLane was a repeat offender who had 1473 pirated discs seized by Victorian Police in 2005 and a further 799 discs in 2006.

Microsoft Australia legal counsel Clayton Noble said the risks of deploying pirated software are serious, ranging from system crashes and data loss to identity theft.

“We encourage all consumers to purchase their software from reputable retailers they can trust,” he said in a statement.

Business Software Alliance (BSA) Australia offers $5000 to whistle blowers who give it information about companies using pirated software.

In 2012,14 cases of software piracy totalling $440,237 were settled in Australia by the BSA.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags MicrosoftWindowsofficesoftware piracypiracyClayton NobleBusiness Software Alliance (BSA)

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