Last week President Bush established ground-breaking legislation in the fight against software piracy and intellectual property rights protection by signing into law House Resolution 3632, the Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments Act of 2003. This law closes a critical legal loophole by criminalizing the distribution of standalone Certificates of Authenticity (COA) labels as well as other authentication components such as licensing documents and registration cards for copyrights.
The closure of this legal loophole will allow industry and law enforcement to address all aspects of piracy and make it much more dangerous for those attempting to defraud consumers and compete unfairly by illegally distributing standalone COA labels. There is no legitimate reason to sell or purchase individual COA labels. They are worthless when not tied to a software product, and now, the practice is illegal.
We have already begun to educate customers and partners on the advantages of using genuine Windows products and we will continue to execute a broad, continuous education effort that will include advertising, electronic communications, and targeted events. In an effort to protect our honest partners, we will also continue our secret shopper efforts, identifying and pursuing legal recourse against those resellers who continue to sell standalone COAs even after given the opportunity to cease and desist.
Microsoft is committed to protecting our honest System Builder Partners in the channel as well as ensuring that consumers receive the genuine Microsoft® product they believe they purchased. The success of our business partners is dependent upon a legitimate selling channel, and you’ve asked us to do our part.
We will make every effort to ensure a level playing field and reduce the negative effect of the small percentage of dishonest resellers by continuing to support our channel partners who ‘play by the rules’. We will continue our efforts to provide both technological and business value in our Microsoft Windows® platform for you and our mutual customers.
We thank you for your support in the effort to eliminate illegitimate business practices and wish you all a safe and prosperous New Year. For more information on genuine Windows software, how-to-tell, and our piracy efforts, visit www.microsoft.com/genuine. You can also read more about the new law at http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for HR 3632.
If you have OEM licensing questions, visit the licensing and anti-piracy section on www.microsoft.com/oem where you can review Frequently Asked Questions or join a licensing discussion group.
Thank you and have a wonderful day,
Small Business Development Manager – U.S. Central Region
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