A Chinese court has convicted 11 people of violating national copyright laws and participating in the manufacture and distribution of pirated Microsoft software. In the Shenzhen court in southern China the culprits were sentenced to 18 months to six-and-a-half years in prison.
Microsoft said the group is one of the biggest software counterfeiting organization and estimated its global sales at more than $2 billion. The counterfeit goods, including Windows XP and Office 2007, were exported from China over the internet to the US and Europe. The counterfeits contained hologram markings and Microsoft’s certificates of authenticity.
David Finn, associate general counsel for worldwide piracy and counterfeiting issues at Microsoft, said: This is absolutely unprecedented. The size and scope of the operation is unlike anything we’ve seen before. We found their products in 36 countries.
Fengming Liu, vice president of Microsoft Greater China Region, said: Over the years, Microsoft has been working closely with the Chinese government to promote intellectual property rights. Thanks to the actions of the Chinese government, we have seen a significant improvement in the environment for intellectual property rights in China. Moving forward, we will continue to work with the relevant authorities in China to ensure that counterfeit software does not undermine the development of China’s knowledge economy.
Earlier this year Microsoft reduced the retail price of its Windows and Office products by nearly 60% in China to win customers from pirate software dealers.