Software piracy is the mislicensing, unauthorized reproduction and illegal distribution of software, whether for business or personal use. Protect yourself from the risks of software piracy with helpful tips how to identify counterfeit or other misuse of software.

FBI CONSUMER ALERT - The FBI has issued a consumer alert warning of the possibility of malware on pirated software.
  • Pirated software hurts everyone
  • from software developers to retail store owners, and ultimately to all software users. Furthermore, the illegal duplication and distribution of software has a significant impact on the economy.

  • How Can You Tell?

    Always look for a Genuine Microsoft Label or a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). Both of these are labels that help you identify genuine Microsoft software. A Genuine Microsoft Label or COA is not a software license – it is a visual identifier that assists in determining whether or not the Microsoft software you are running is genuine. However, without either one, you will not have a legal license to run Microsoft software. A Genuine Microsoft Label or COA should never be purchased separately from the software it authenticates.

  • Too Good to be True?

    Microsoft is working to educate partners and consumers about the risks of getting software from suspicious sources. We are investigating the sources of these Spam and counterfeiting operations and are doing everything in our power to stop this kind of activity. Purchasing from known and trusted sources and avoiding "too good to be true" deals are the best ways to avoid wasting valuable time and money on counterfeit or infringing software.

  • Product Activation

    Product Activation is a simple, straightforward process. In most cases, the only information required to activate is an Installation ID created by the software. No personally identifiable information is required.

    Product Activation takes less than one minute when completed over the Internet. If activation is completed in this way, the product will take care of most of the work and will require very little user participation.

  • Know the Facts

    It is important to understand the real risks associated with software piracy. By using counterfeit, unlicensed or pirated software you are putting yourself at risk of having potential desktop licensing issues. Read the Microsoft Know the Facts section so you can protect yourself from the risks associated with software piracy.