Microsoft has again warned the channel to steer clear of illegal software after two members of Europe's largest software counterfeiting ring were sent to jail.
A German court recently sentenced the father of notorious software pirate Ralph Blasek, himself jailed for five years in July 2003, to 16 months' imprisonment for selling counterfeit software and infringing Microsoft copyright. Another member of the gang received a three-year sentence.
Alex Hilton, Microsoft UK licence compliance manager, said: "The pirates are getting cleverer. Many are now selling their software close to the price of legal software, so it is easy for firms to be duped. But we reiterate our message to always buy from authorised sources."
Hilton said that if Microsoft obtains a list of the resellers that bought from the gang, it will follow up the leads. "This won't necessarily be with a view to prosecuting, but more to educate those partners," he said.
Earlier this year a joint study by IDC and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) revealed that software piracy in the UK is costing $1.6bn a year.
Ross Miller, managing director of VAR Trustmarque Solutions, disagreed that firms were being duped. "Every reseller knows it can go to an authorised distributor and get a reasonable price," he said.
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