A dealer managed to upstage suppliers at last week's Windows Showms' products. when it was found to be selling unlicensed and OEM software.
Networks UK Direct, a Manchester-based reseller of hardware, software and internet services paid z2,300 to the official organisers, IT Events, to hire a stand for the four-day show. It was booked under the company name CDC.
Throughout the event, the stand was crowded with customers who could choose from a range of software titles including Lotus Smartsuite, Corel Draw and Electronic Arts Fifa 97, as well as hardware, peripherals and PC components - all at heavily discounted prices.
The titles were not supplied with a user licence and some software was clearly marked 'OEM edition - Not For Resale'.
Allison Pegg, events co-ordinator at Corel, asked the company to stop selling Corel's software at the show, which the reseller did. The vendor was investigating whether it would take any further action against Networks UK Direct.
Gary Edwards, head of OEM distribution at Electronic Arts, said: 'We supply OEM products in good faith. But if a company does go bankrupt, this can be the by-product.
'If it is then bought from the liquidators, there is nothing we can do about it because our contract and distribution agreement is with the company we originally supplied.'
David Gregory, anti-piracy head at Microsoft, said: 'As far as we are concerned this would be a breach of copyright, but it is up to each manufacturer to decide how it enforces its policy.'
He added: 'I can confirm that Networks UK Direct has been subject to a Microsoft investigation but no action has been taken at this stage.'
But Networks UK Direct spokesman David Julich, who manned the stand, insisted that the goods were being sold legally despite a clarification from the Personal Computers Association that grey products should be treated as counterfeit.
He said: 'We are not looking at stolen products here. This software comes from businesses that have gone bust.
'The liquidators typically break up the company and sell the software to our accredited suppliers who then sell it on to us.'
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