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.
  • Reporting Software Piracy

    Software piracy equals lost wages, lost jobs, and unfair competition. It also means introducing unwanted risk into your home or business by way of malware and other threats that are associated with pirated software. Struggling to fight against piracy, some companies must devote valuable resources to antipiracy technology and to recover against data loss and downtime caused by pirated software. Legitimate businesses can’t compete with the criminal syndicates that flood the market with pirated software. Reporting piracy means keeping a level playing field, and ensuring you get only the most reliable, secure software you expect.

    You can help stop this illegal and harmful activity. Knowing how to spot and avoid illegal software, and reporting suspected intellectual property violations when you encounter them, can have a positive impact on the fight against piracy. Please learn more about this criminal activity and take action.

    Report piracy by completing an online reporting form.

    Microsoft receives many software piracy leads per month and is dedicated to acting on each one we receive. We evaluate every lead that comes in—and while we can't always communicate what we are doing with the leads for legal reasons, please know that each lead is taken very seriously and acted upon.

  • So what happens when you report software piracy?

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  • Your lead is received by a team of individuals who take action.

    A letter may be sent to the company stating that they have been reported for allegedly distributing Microsoft software in an unauthorized manner.

    A secret shopper may make a purchase from the company that was reported.

    The individual who submitted the lead may be contacted for further information/evidence (invoice, software).

    If evidence regarding the company is gathered, a cease and desist letter may be sent.

    The evidence developed may be used in a legal proceeding against the reported company.

  • Example of how your tips are used.

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  • F.B.I. and Chinese Seize $500 Million of Counterfeit Software

    A multi-year investigation by Chinese police investigators and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation led to the dismantling of a piracy ring responsible for pirating and distributing up to $2 billion of software. The two-year investigation led to the demise of two criminal organizations - located in Shanghai and Shenzhen - and included up to 25 arrests according to officials from both nations. Microsoft, in gathering evidence it later handed over to the F.B.I. and to Chinese authorities, said more than 1,000 people had notified the company and sent in counterfeit discs. The consumers who sent in the pirated discs were apparently unaware they had purchased illegal software until a notification popped up on their screens. The F.B.I. said that a joint effort with the Chinese authorities had led to the seizing of more than $500 million worth of counterfeit Microsoft and Symantec software that was being made in China and distributed worldwide.

    The arrests, according to industry executives, represented the most significant crackdown on software piracy. In the last couple of weeks, the operation led to the seizing by the Chinese government of 290,000 counterfeit discs and certificates of authenticity. The F.B.I. said that Chinese officials had seized more than 47,000 counterfeit Microsoft discs.