Twenty-six lawsuits have been filed by Microsoft against alleged dealers in pirated software. The companies, all from the US, have been selling pirated software or systems loaded with such software, according to Microsoft.
The suits were filed in federal courts against companies in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and South Carolina. They are intended to protect Microsoft's software revenue and its reseller partners, who stand to lose business when users buy pirated software, the company said.
Microsoft gathered evidence against the defendants through several means. In some cases, complaints were received through the software giant's antipiracy hotline. In others, Microsoft purchased computers from the defendants as part of a 'secret shopper' operation to find dealers selling pirated software.
The BSA (Business Software Alliance), an industry group backed by several software companies, including Microsoft, reported in May that 21 percent of software sold in the US is pirated. That rate is the lowest in the world, according to a BSA list of the 20 countries with the lowest piracy rates.
Further details of the BSA report on software piracy are available here.