Microsoft applauds IP-protecting prison sentence

Software giant Microsoft has welcomed the harsh sentence handed down to a man found guilty of allegedly trading in illegal certificates to pretend that unauthorised versions of Windows XP Professional and Windows 2000 Professional were the real deal.

Yesterday, Justin Harrison was ordered to pay $25,000 and sentenced to 46 months of prison time by the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for "trafficking in illicit certificates of authenticity for Microsoft software." The company is hoping the penalty will serve as a deterrent for other would-be wrong doers.

Microsoft also said that it believes the government has made a good move with this action as it goes some way to helping to protect the intellectual property (IP) - the lifeblood of the IT industry - and, ultimately, users.

"Microsoft applauds the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their efforts to protect consumers and intellectual property in the first prosecution under the Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments," the software giant said in a statement.

"This case involved trafficking in illicit software labels intended to deceive consumers into believing they were acquiring genuine software. The 46-month sentence handed down by United States District Judge Orinda D. Evans in this case should serve as a strong message to others that distributing illicit software certificates is a criminal act that can result in a significant prison term. The sentence recognises the value of intellectual property and the threat that software piracy presents to the global economy and consumers throughout the world," the statement said.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.