Microsoft has filed 10 lawsuits against both individuals and companies, alleging that they are pirating software and are selling not-for-resale applications to unsuspecting purchasers.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said the seven lawsuits filed against nine individuals from California, Maryland, New York, Texas, and Virginia were initiated as a result of the breach of an agreement under which the individuals obtained software through the Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions (MAPS).
The MAPS initiative is a program that provides eligible partners with discounted Microsoft software packages for product evaluation and internal use.
"This is the first occasion where Microsoft has filed MAPS-related lawsuits," Microsoft attorney Matt Lundy said. "Microsoft is determined to protect its legitimate business partners from people who do not respect the rules."
The MAPS lawsuits allege egregious abuse of the MAPS program by individuals who have repeatedly and knowingly broken the terms of the agreement, Microsoft said. "Some of those named in the suits have allegedly attempted to sell software from their subscriptions to consumers through online auction sites," the company said in a statement.
The individuals named in the MAPS lawsuits are Catherine Will and Philip Parana, of Buffalo, N.Y.; James Baker of San Diego, Calif.; Kenneth Ham of College Station, Texas; Benjamin Hesson of Leesburg, Va.; Charles Klosek of Glenn Dale, Md.; Jimmy Huh of Encinitas, Calif.; Eric Mitchell of Santa Ana, Calif.; and Lang Ngo of San Francisco, Calif.
Microsoft also filed three lawsuits against three companies in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, alleging counterfeit-software abuses. Those companies are Auction Hut of Toledo, Ohio; Comp-Discounts Software of Boca Raton, Fla.; and Computer Techs of Grove City, Pa.
"These companies were involved in our systems builders program," Lundy said.
"Microsoft has been in the forefront of placing bounties on hackers and in filing lawsuits against software pirates," said Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio, who pointed out that after Microsoft started bringing hackers to court and they actually served jail time, instead of community service, hackers began to realize the legal penalties they faced.
"In the same way, software-piracy lawsuits give a clear message to people tempted to commit software piracy," she said.
DiDio also indicated that she applauded Microsoft's determination to prosecute alleged software pirates. "Like all big software vendors, Microsoft loses a lot of revenue through piracy," she said. "Microsoft just has to go to court to take action against piracy."