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Japan piracy case settled

Microsoft and two other software makers report one of the largest known settlements involving computer software piracy in Japan.

Microsoft (MSFT) and two other software makers today reported one of the largest known settlements involving computer software piracy in Japan.

Lotus Development, Justsystem, and Microsoft reached a settlement of 140 million yen ($1.4 million) with an Osaka-based software company, Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said. The three software companies declined to name the Japanese software maker.

The case arose from a March 13 tip from an employee of the Japanese software maker, who was using the companies' programs for its business computers, Murray said. "The penalty they'll have to pay is double the cost of what they would have spent if they had bought the software," he said.

A court in March had determined that the software maker had illegally copied 20 programs produced by the three companies. Microsoft's Excel, Lotus's 1-2-3, and Justsystem's Ichitaro business program were among the programs copied.

The settlement also calls for the Japanese software to be audited in three years to determine whether other programs have been illegally copied. A spokeswoman for Justsystems said the case was one of the largest known settlements regarding software piracy in Japan.