This Just In, Somewhat Recently: ‘braindump’ settlement


So I got the OK to share some news about Microsoft’s settlement with Testking. From our perspective, and hopefully your perspective, and hopefully the perspective of other IT certification programs… it is really good news. Here is part of the internal announcement from Shon, our Microsoft Learning guy who focuses on issues like this:


Microsoft has reached a settlement with Testking, the world’s largest braindump distributor, to immediately cease illegal use of Microsoft Certification exam content. ….Braindump companies provide a “shortcut” to IT certifications by helping people with limited product knowledge and expertise pass IT exams. Ultimately, this devalues the achievements of the many individuals who legitimately passed exams thanks to in-depth study and hands-on technology experience. ….Under the terms of this settlement, Testking has agreed to immediately cease marketing, selling, distributing, publishing, reproducing, disseminating, offering or otherwise knowingly transferring in any way any actual Microsoft Certification Exams content.


Top two reasons we think this is really good news:



  1. Testking is really big, and will now only be providing legitimate study materials via Testking.com and their other websites.

  2. This should raise awareness about what is/is not acceptable use of intellectual property in the certification world — and discourage other ‘braindump’ providers — so that those of you who make the effort and commitment to pass exams on the real get the recognition you deserve.

Shon and others will talk more about this in our May 23rd Live Meeting about certification integrity. Questions?

Comments (26)

  1. Andy says:

    Excellent work (all involved)!

  2. Niall M says:

    Does this mean that you can now legally buy from TestKing???

  3. Ken W says:

    Excellent, this spells good news for us that work hard for the certs & qual’s.

    I think we should all celebrate, by letting MS give us free vouchers for exams ‘cough’ 😉

    But on a serious side, hopefully this will increase the value of our certs and decrease job adverts for entry level positions (eg helpdesk) that want MCSE’s.

    -Ken

  4. Excellent work, MSFT.  Next stop: "Actual Tests" or whatever they call themselves now…

  5. @Niall M-

    No, it does not.  Just because they may have partially cleared themselves with Microsoft does not mean that you are not putting yourself at risk by using a Practice Test from TestKing with a different Certification Vendor such as CompTIA or Cisco.

  6. KomatoZo says:

    Step. Just the first step… I’m looking forward to hearing from you about the second =)

  7. hyperpixie says:

    The tests are still on Test King.

  8. Cerebrus says:

    What defines "actual Microsoft Certification Exams content" ? I think that is the keyword (and possible loophole) in the entire statement.

    What will Microsoft do if :

    1. TestKing continues to provide exam questions, but adds a disclaimer that they are developed by their own team of experts?

    2. TestKing blatantly ignores the terms of the settlement?

  9. Adam says:

    When is TestKing going to remove its illegal disclosured content? I wonder also is Microsoft taking over TK domain? I suppose "no", but have a look at this announcement

    http://mcpmag.com/news/article.asp?EditorialsID=1015

  10. TBone says:

    Most people don’t buy TK tests, they download them from file sharing sites. So the flow may be blocked, but the problem will still exist for a long time.

    Also, does this include all of TK’s alias sites?

  11. @Adam

    There are several editorials written on the Civil Suit.

    @TBone

    Please check out this as it was the list of sites presented in the actual trial:

    http://www.certguard.com/TKLegal/InjDoc2Attach.pdf

  12. Iain Wade says:

    This is a great first step!

    Well done to all those that kept pushing for this from all directions to happen.

  13. S.Y. Paul Lai says:

    Did you hear the stories about some rogue training centres and test centers ask their courseware writerS or trainerS to take an exam together several times (by failing it or by using different people’s names) to copy down the questions to produce materials for themselves and for their students?  Those materials are not like BrainDumps.  They are not word by word copies of the questions.  Those training centres isolated the specific key points in each question.  Then, they modify their courseware to reomve un-tested topics and add additional notes to focus items.  They may also produce a summary note of the MUST KNOW key points.  Even if you get a copy of their material, you can’t say it is illegal, but the process to produce the note is absolutely dirty.  Every time I heard those stories I needed to think that they were just telling a joke, because nothing I could do to verify or to stop them.  The settlement with TestKing will not affect them.

  14. @S.Y. Paul Lai

    If you have information regarding specific testing centers, or anyone else for that matter, please e-mail the testing center’s name and location to tctips@microsoft.com along with a brief summary of why you are e-mailing them.

    The testing centers are the front-lines of defense, and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this.  However, there are rules that proctors go by and these actions would violate the NDA.  Trika, along with a few others, will be clarifying the NDA on the 23rd of May during a Microsoft Webcast about Certifications.

  15. http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcpexams/faq/security.mspx

    That most likely will be discussed and any FAQs about the topic above probably will answer any questions that people may already not know the answer to.

    Please see:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/trika/archive/2007/04/24/protecting-the-integrity-of-ms-certification.aspx

  16. Matthew says:

    This is certainly good news but with the likelihood that another site(s) will simply be created to take over TestKings shortfall, and as such the cost to Microsoft to continually have to take legal action increase; is it likely the MCP exams will increase in price to meet these increased costs?

  17. Trika says:

    Adam, Niall, Here’s what I hear: Testking has until mid-June to fully comply with the terms of our settlement… therefore we can’t condone or recommend using Testking or prep materials from Testking subsidiary sites until that point.

    TBone, yes, all Testking-affiliated or owned sites are included in the settlement.

    Everyone else, ‘sup. We will cover these questions in our meeting on May 23 and I can report back. If we dont cover them you can ask in the Q&A.

  18. Jason says:

    Please tell me the TK people are going to prison for a long time or will be flat broke.  Otherwise, this seems like a slap on the wrist and it’s totally worth it to start up a test cheat company to make millions/billions.  What a joke this settlement is.

  19. For my love says:

    TestKing was over

  20. Jim says:

    Has TestKing really quit selling exam questions? The only thing different that I see on their site(s) is the claim that their products don’t contain actual MS exam questions.

  21. ryangaraygay says:

    Hi Trika,

    "Here’s what I hear : Testking has until mid-June". It’s September, any new updates?

  22. shalzarr says:

    Just check the user forums on Testking. "I purchased a practice test for exam such and such and just failed with a 500. There was only one question from my practice exam that came close to looking like something from the test". I’m paraphrasing, but it looks like they aren’t kidding about their claim that the tests don’t contain actual questions anymore. However, the forums also seem to point out people are getting older versions of testking materials from file sharing sites that still cover exam content. Hopefully over time as newer questions are placed in the tests the older materials become less and less useful as well.

  23. Trika says:

    I checked with Shon and it sounds like things are on track, but until we finish all of our audits/checks/etc. to make sure everything is working as planned, we are still not recommending that you use Test King or affiliate sites.

    But glad to hear comments like that added by Shalzarr; i’ve heard that from a few places too.

    Shon and team are working on this. When we have a definitive statement/wrap up we’ll make an announcement or hold a follow up Live Meeting.

  24. Microsoft договорилась с TestKing, что TestKing не выпускает ОС, а Microsoft не продает дампы. Шутка,…

  25. SHANI says:

    SETTLEMENT READS:

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE CASE NO CV06 1116JLR

    MICROSOFT CORPORATION VS SHAHZAD SHAHNAWAZ ETC

    THIS MATTER having come on before the court on the stipulated motion of plaintiff MICROSOFT CORPORATION ("MICROSOFT")and defendants Shahzad Shahnawaz, Ove Lundberg and Certification Trendz Ltd, ("Defendants")to dismiss Microsoft’s claims against defendants with prejudice, and the court being fully advised on the matter, now therefore, it is hereby

    ORDERED that any and all claims asserted in this action by the plaintiff Microsoft against defendants Shahzad Shahnawaz, Ove Lundberg and Certification Trendz Ltd, ("defendants") are hereby dismissed with prejudice, each side to bear all of its own costs and attorneys fees.

    Dated: this 17th day of June 2007.

    Sd:……………………….

    The Honourable James L. Robert

    United States District Judge

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