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Microsoft has found two Auckland-based sellers onselling pirated Microsoft products such as Office and Windows Vista, and have launched an international investigation against those accused.
Respective American and Australian auctions sites iOffer, OZtion and New Zealand’s biggest and most popular auction website TradeMe are involved in both of the cases where bidders thought they were buying genuine software, only to find it did not work as expected.
One such buyer was Tina Tweedie who bought her software from dlive Limited, run by Xu Lei and Liao Yaopei. She said that she assumed it was genuine, “But when I loaded the software I realised that I had been duped into buying counterfeit.”
Microsoft described the dlive counterfeit software as “high-quality” and the Australasian-centred investigation took from July 2007 until October 2008.
Jun Li, Gong Qi and Jingtao Jin were part of an international investigation that took up to nine months to complete for selling Microsoft products illegally. It is alleged the software is sourced from China.
iOffer and TradeMe received numerous complaints against the sellers, and informed Microsoft. Microsoft reviewed 27 pieces of software and found them all to be of a high standard worth $22,000; a drop in the bucket for the $48 billion pirates cost Microsoft each year.
Mr Li, Mr Qi and Mr Jin were also found to have been supplying fake discs to numerous countries like The Netherlands, Canada and The United Kingdom.
All traders are being taken to court by Microsoft. Mr Li already faces a NZ$100,000 fine and is required to pay all legal costs. Other traders have had their bank accounts frozen while their trial awaits.
Microsoft does have some final words of advice, “Consumers should exercise great care in purchasing software from Internet auction sites, as some online traders are disreputable and there is usually no opportunity to inspect the product prior to purchase,” Vanessa Hutley, senior corporate attorney and director, Intellectual Property at Microsoft Australia said.
Jonty Haywood is responsible for the entire site Lose The Game at losethegame.com; a site dedicated to informing the masses about a widely spreading and popular game aptly called “The Game”. I talked to Haywood via email while constantly losing The Game.
The rules of The Game are simple and easy enough to remember with only three basic rules. While there are variations of the rules spread across Internet just as The Game itself has spread, Haywood plays by these rules:
- You are playing The Game.
- Whenever you think about The Game, you lose.
- Loss must be announced.
“In my experience The Game spreads among a group of friends, eventually reaching the Internet and makes it to a new group of friends, etc.
“In addition, many people play actively by trying to make lots of other people lose The Game, often by initiating new players.”
Even though many people play The Game, its history cannot be accurately retold. Haywood first heard of the game in 2001 and while there are some Internet posts relating to The Game that date back to 2002, one person from London with claims to being the maker of The Game says he made it in 1996 with the “aim of annoying as many people as possible.” Haywood says this London-origin story is the only claim that has “any kind of evidence”. But he does say that he prefers to think that someone “discovered” The Game, and not invented it. “It’s always been there, just waiting for someone to realise that they are playing, and hence lose.”
Despite running a popular site about The Game – which has something “big” coming up and will be announced in the next few weeks – Haywood himself gets annoyed and irritated at The Game “all the time”. His losses span anywhere from days at a time to mere hours in between depending on who he is surrounded by. The Game is still fun to play however, he says, because of the distress put onto other people. “Although you can’t be aware that you are winning The Game, it is still fun when your friends lose before you, or more than you. Even more fun is when they lose because of something you previously set-up, or an association you tried to make them make.
“I think it’s a much more interesting game than it may first appear. It’s also very abstract and a little thought-provoking, and it’s good to see lots of young people enjoying it.”
And for those who wish to lose less often, Haywood has some “strategies”. “One involves trying to feel very annoyed after losing, with the hope that you will subconsciously learn not to lose like this. The other is to hit yourself when you lose, with a similar purpose,” he says. “Unfortunately, almost every strategy we have tried so far has backfired spectacularly.”
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