"..Microsoft today announced that, in an effort to protect consumers and legitimate software distributors from the harmful impact of software piracy, the company has filed software piracy lawsuits against four Tennessee resellers. The lawsuits allege that the companies distributed counterfeit and/or infringing Microsoft software.
The high-tech industry is important to Tennessee's economy, and software piracy is seriously impacting economic growth in the state. According to a study published by the American Electronics Association in 1997, Tennessee's high-tech employment is on the rise with more than 42,000 people working in the technology industry. In 1998, software piracy cost the state an estimated 2,656 jobs, resulting in lost wages and salaries of more than $72 million, according to a study by International Planning & Research Corp. The study additionally reported that the drain on tax revenues from software piracy amounted to nearly $12 million -- money that otherwise could have contributed to local and state improvement projects.
Microsoft's investigations into the distribution of pirated software are often a result of tips to the company's anti-piracy hot line. These tips are often phoned in from resellers or consumers who acquire suspicious software. Many distributors of counterfeit software continue to distribute unauthorized Microsoft software even after receiving a written request from Microsoft to stop unlawful activities.
All four of the lawsuits allege copyright violations and trademark infringements due to the alleged distribution of counterfeit copies of Microsoft software or software components to investigators and/or customers.."