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A recent investigation undertaken by Microsoft New Zealand of retailers in the Dunedin area found no evidence of software piracy, the company says.
Clayton Noble, legal counsel for Microsoft, says this is the first investigative sweep in New Zealand that has not found piracy, which was an encouraging result.
NBR notes that if the city's rambunctious student population is accessing pirated software, it's obviously not (advertently or inadvertently) through dodgy retailers. They must be hitting the Torrents.
“Microsoft investigated retailers in the Auckland area a year ago, where they found six retailers selling counterfeit software, leading to financial settlements with the sellers. To find this was not the case in Dunedin is very positive,” Noble says.
Auckland, Dunedin - who's getting swept next?
“It is systematic. We choose areas to investigate based on a number of factors, and we cover all major retail regions of New Zealand over time," Noble tells NBR.
Microsoft stops the sale of unauthorised software and takes action against the sellers because using non-genuine software carries serious risks for consumers. It can often contain spyware, malware and viruses, carrying risks from system downtime, loss of sensitive data or identity theft, Noble says.
“There are some strains of counterfeit software products that contain hidden key-logging software that allows criminals to steal passwords, bank account details and other personal information that could be dangerous for the consumer in terms of security."
Microsoft's Buyer’s Checklist
1. Are you buying from a known and reputable retailer/seller?
Buy from a retailer or seller you know and trust.
2. Is the software you are looking to purchase much cheaper than from other retailers?
The general rule of thumb is proven time and time again – if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
3. Are you able to contact the seller after you receive the software?
Be wary if the seller is reluctant or won’t provide a phone number, address and other pertinent contact details.
4. Does the seller have satisfied and happy customers?
When buying online, always look for feedback from other customers. If there is negative feedback, steer clear.
5. What is the seller’s return policy?
Make sure there is a way to return the product, and make sure that you feel confident that your seller will be willing and able to help you with after-sales service if there is a problem with your product.
6. When buying online, are the photos in the advertisement of the actual software being sold?
Be wary of stock standard marketing photos that may not be of the actual software you are buying.
7. Can you physically check the product?
If you can, check the product thoroughly before you purchase it. Use the How to Tell website to help you tell if it is legitimate software. Always be wary of sellers who are reluctant to let you view the product.
8. Are you purchasing the correct license?
For example, if you use academic software and you are not a student, lecturer or teacher, you are in breach of the license.
9. Does the software have a genuine Certificate of Authenticity?
A Certificate of Authenticity is a label that helps you identify genuine software. This is a visual identifier that helps determine whether or not the software you are buying is genuine. Check the Microsoft ‘How to Tell’ website to be able to tell the difference between genuine and fake Certificates of Authenticity.