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Microsoft ramps up antipiracy efforts with 52 lawsuits

Redmond files a flotilla of lawsuits worldwide against alleged software pirates, seeking to stem the tide on a $40 billion industry.

Microsoft has filed 52 lawsuits against alleged software pirates.

The software giant, which has led an active campaign against counterfeit copies of its software over the years, announced Tuesday that it filed cases against resellers in countries that ranged from China to the Netherlands to the United Kingdom and United States.

Microsoft noted that in 15 of the 52 cases, the software involved could allegedly be traced to a massive commercial counterfeit syndicate that Chinese authorities and the FBI broke up this summer. Most of the alleged illicit sales were conducted through e-commerce sites.

Counterfeit copies of their digital goods cost members of the worldwide software industry an estimated $40 billion annually, according to Microsoft. The tech titan also cited a study conducted by the Business Software Alliance and market researcher IDC that put the global PC software piracy rate at 35 percent last year.

Redmond also unveiled a "Microsoft Buying Guide" on eBay as a tool for educating consumers about counterfeit applications. In addition, it maintains an information site with tips on how to detect pirated software.

Through users' tips, Microsoft said, it also gleaned enough information to refer 22 criminal cases to various law enforcement agencies around the world.