Microsoft has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Seattle against an unidentified defendant that the company accuses of creating perhaps thousands of unauthorized copies of the company’s software.
According to a copy of the suit, first spotted by TorrentFreak, Microsoft doesn’t yet know the identity of the accused but is seeking that information. Microsoft’s “cyberforensics” team does know that the person or people in question accessed the internet via a specific Comcast IP address. Some of the software involved includes Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2010, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008.
Microsoft said in the suit, “Defendants contacted Microsoft activation servers in Washington over two thousand times from 2012 to 2015,” and have activated several thousand product keys. The company alleges the evidence indicates the accused are “installing counterfeit and infringing copies of Microsoft’s software.”
As TorrentFreak noted, Microsoft doesn’t typically go after casual software pirates, and in previous cases the entities distributing pirated software turned out to be “computer-related businesses.”
The question this raises is who would risk legal hassles over pirating software when the market is in decline. In Microsoft’s most recent quarterly earnings report, the company noted that revenue from Windows OEM Pro fell 6 percent. A year earlier sales dropped 13 percent.
Microsoft in recent times has tended to focus anti-piracy efforts in China and overseas, where large pirate rings create unauthorized copies of its software and sell them at discounted prices. But it appears the people in this case finally went too far.
Microsoft has asked the court for a subpoena to identify the Comcast subscriber. The company is seeking unspecified damages, as well as immediate injunctive relief.