Microsoft wants US companies to pay for pirates overseas

By on March 28, 2011, 4:38 PM
Microsoft is lobbying for new state laws that would allow the software giant to sue US companies for doing business with foreign entities using pirated software. Instead of pursuing overseas suppliers for running unauthorized programs, Redmond wants to punish domestic firms with penalties including a sales injunction on the item in question as well as financial damages. Highlighting the madness of Microsoft's proposal, Groklaw offers the following scenario:

"If a company overseas uses a pirated version of Excel, let's say, keeping track of how many parts it has shipped or whatever, and then sends some parts to General Motors or any large company to incorporate into the finished product, Microsoft can sue *not the overseas supplier* but General Motors, for unfair competition. So can the state's Attorney General." Supposedly, the item could be anything -- even something as trivial as a nut or bolt in a product.


This seems like a misguided way to handle overseas infringement and it's facing opposition from companies including Intel, HP, Dell and IBM. Despite its lunacy, the state of Louisiana passed a similar law last year titled the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The Washington state Senate and House have also approved different versions of the bill, which are currently being merged for final approval. Oregon is also contemplating the proposal.



User Comments: 14

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Raswan Raswan said:

This will never get anywhere. The fact that Louisiana passed the law should tell us this. Oh, Louisiana, you are like the South Carolina of the Deep South.

Guest said:

This is a joke. M$ isn't the only company that is dealing with this. Besides, I'm willing to bet that Microsoft deals with companies that use pirated software as well. If this passes, there would be lawsuits flying all over the place (nothing new). Besides, how would you be able to track/prove this? M$, you've reached a new low.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

raswan said:

This will never get anywhere. The fact that Louisiana passed the law should tell us this. Oh, Louisiana, you are like the South Carolina of the Deep South.

Is that really fair to South Carolina? Louisiana is MUCH worse.

Guest said:

The piracy is a reality in the IT industry in which all has participated more or less.

The Microsoft is a very big and successive company which owns a very strategic piece of the market and that's put them more close to politicians than businessmen.

So Microsoft de facto has to care and for the worlds interests not only for the company.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think its time that we start figuring out some ways to hold the Chinese accountable for their piracy. When you're dealing with a people whose ethos is vastly different from us, you can't play ball by our rules, you have to play ball by their rules.

Chinese won't stop pirating software, punish the people doing business with them, forcing either the US firm to stop doing business with them, or to force their suppliers to buy legitimate software (or switch to some free alternative).

What if the companies that stole the software also stole the machines they use to manufacture their products, and stole the raw materials used to make the products?

I don't care what you do with your pirated software or movies if its for personal non-profit use, but as soon as you're making money with that software that you pirated, and still refuse to buy the legit version, then I support whatever lawsuits you will face because you're no longer doing this for fun, but you're making money and you're using their products that you've stolen to make money.

How is stopping this evil?

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

gwailo247, IMO there's nothing wrong in making companies pay for dealing with companies that have illegal practices, it's just wrong to make it a civil issue. The US is litigation happy, where everyone, in particular big corporations, is suing everyone else for ridiculous sums. The law Microsoft suggests is just a license to do more of the same. There's nothing wrong with stopping pirates, but when the RIAA or MPAA sue people for millions or one company might sue another for billions in what are obviously extremely inflated sums, all that does is tie courts and feed lawyers.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

ET3D said:

There's nothing wrong with stopping pirates, but when the RIAA or MPAA sue people for millions or one company might sue another for billions in what are obviously extremely inflated sums, all that does is tie courts and feed lawyers.

This has nothing to do with non-profit piracy. I fully oppose the RIAA or MPAA suing anyone who downloaded the movie, but I support their suit against a guy who is selling the same burned disks on the corner.

If someone is learning to use Maya, and they pirate a version to do so, that's fine by me. But if they get hired and are making money, then they need to buy their version of Maya, because at this point they are stealing. As this is something that they are using professionally, and so would have had to buy it to continue working, they are stealing from the company that makes the software, as this is a sale that is not imaginary, but real, and that sale was stolen from them by this guy's piracy.

Take that further, GM would obviously have a problem if their supplier was using stolen machinery to manufacture their mufflers, so why should they not equally crack down on their supplier using stolen software in order to run their business?

Piracy is ok as long as it is not for profit, that's something I have long stood by, and will stand by, but for profit piracy is theft, pure and simple, and should be punished.

Cota Cota said:

Its like the hot potato game "there you got the hot potato! - screw you im not catching it its your problem, and btw we are over".

Of course it way to extreme but arent these extreme times?, we had seen how companies are fighting dirty because they are desperate, whats next? raid all places to look for pirate software?

Guest said:

Continuing the above General Motors example.

IF General Motors do business overseas with some company using pirated software, is there some kind of warning letter ? Like

"The company XYZ are using a pirated copy of Microsoft FenÍtres Neuf. Stop doing business with these peoples or else... the wraith... commeth,"

How are General Motors meant to know otherwise the practices of others? Does this mean the American Govt can be sued for doing business selling weapons etc to the countries abroad who it then has a beef with 3 months later? Or they exempt ? Can we see a M$ Tax exempt list ?

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Guest said:

Stop doing business with these peoples or else... the wraith... commeth,"

How are General Motors meant to know otherwise the practices of others? Does this mean the American Govt can be sued for doing business selling weapons etc to the countries abroad who it then has a beef with 3 months later? Or they exempt ? Can we see a M$ Tax exempt list ?

By this rate, Microsoft FenÍtres Neuf will probably have built-in surveillance software much alike Google's that'll make tracking practices of others a piece of cake...

Guest said:

Here is a crazy idea. Price your software in these piracy hotbeds the same price as pirated software. In a few years when you drive out the piracy competition you can raise the prices slowly. Something is better than nothing right? These companies are just to greedy. If you price something cheap enough you drive out piracy. If your making profit over 1Million...I have no sympathy for you. When is excessive amounts of profit enough?

Raswan Raswan said:

Is that really fair to South Carolina? Louisiana is MUCH worse.

fair enough wendigo.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

Guest said:

This is a joke. M$ isn't the only company that is dealing with this. Besides, I'm willing to bet that Microsoft deals with companies that use pirated software as well. If this passes, there would be lawsuits flying all over the place (nothing new). Besides, how would you be able to track/prove this? M$, you've reached a new low.

It's M$, they just have to say you are using pirated software and *POOF* it is pirated. lolz

Guest said:

Microsoft should go screw itself! If an OVERSEAS company, even if they are

owned in the USA, uses pirate software, MS should sue in THEIR court, not here

in the USA.

It would be no different than someone coming over here and suing someone in

our courts, for something that happened overseas.

You have to prove it in the court where the violation happens.

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