Following a previous judgment, Microsoft has sued a Wisconsin pirate who has found guilty of selling stolen Windows and Office codes. The Redmond giant filed the complaint against the accused, Anthony Boldin, on September 8th.
Allegedly, Boldin has been selling the 25 character codes from four different websites he maintains. Two of the sites have since shut down, but the others remain fully functional.
The activation codes give pirates access to a fully functioning version of Windows and Office software. Other methods are available, but users don't have access to automatic updates.
Origins in China
Though Microsoft hasn't pointed to the specific source of Boldin's keys, China is a big suspect.The Windows pirate sold Microsoft investigators two keys meant for use in Chinese academic programs. Furthermore, a company spokesperson stated:
“Over the past several years, criminals in China and elsewhere have created a global black market for decoupled product activation keys that have been stolen from Microsoft's supply chain.The decoupled product activation keys end up in the hands of downstream distributors, such as Defendants, who then pass off the stolen keys to the general public as licensed software.”
Other keys were for internal Microsoft use, and other were for use by OEMs. According to Microsoft lawyers, Boldin is well known to the company and has been the subject of two other lawsuits.
The first was in 2000, and simply meant that Boldin could no longer continue to sell the software. However, Boldin failed to comply, and in 2006 was ordered to pay $1.2 million. He has yet to pay the sum, and this complaint asks for further action.
Microsoft asked the court to fast track an investigation, as well as provide a temporary restraining order to prevent further sale of the software.
“Boldin has taken steps to conceal his involvement with the Infringing Websites and, based on his current and past activities, is highly likely to dissipate his assets and conceal or destroy relevant evidence should he be provided with prior notice,” said the company.
Whether or not Boldin will comply with the warning remains to be seen. It's possible that he will continue his enterprise and evade payment once more.