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Piracy gold rush in Nevada claimed

Software piracy in the Silver State led to the loss of more than $70 million in lost wages, tax revenues and retail sales in 1997, Microsoft says.

Apparently, some things are illegal in Nevada.

Software piracy in the Silver State led to the loss of more than $70 million in lost wages, tax revenues and retail sales in 1997, according to statistics released from Microsoft.

The issue of privacy obviously isn't exclusive to Nevada: Three resellers in Minnesota have been hit with lawsuits for allegedly distributing fake or unauthorized versions of Microsoft software. But Nevada's statistics, if true, are startling.

Microsoft claims that 40 percent of all software used in Nevada was pirated as of 1997, a figure that translates into the loss of an estimated 850 jobs and $25 million in wages. The company's statistics were based on data from International Planning & Research of Washington, as well as the Business Software Alliance and Software Publisher's Association.

"It's alarming that Nevada has a piracy rate nearly twice that of California," Gary Willman, general manager of Microsoft's southwest district, said in a statement. Microsoft has released similar reports about the effect of piracy on state economies as part of its effort to combat the problem.

In other news, Microsoft has sued First Micro Group and Orion Systems of Minneapolis, Minnesota, alleging the companies distributed counterfeit copies of Office 97 and the Windows operating system. The company has also filed an action against Computer Renaissance of Rochester, Minnesota, alleging that the reseller pre-loaded unlicensed Office 97 software onto computers before selling them to consumers.

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