They seem similar, but there’s a big difference. Which one would you trust?

  • Reporting Software Piracy

    Software piracy equals lost wages, lost jobs, and unfair competition. Struggling to fight against piracy, some companies must devote resources to anti-piracy technology, ultimately slowing down the development of better products and services. Others fail under the pressure of prices that legal resellers can't match. Reporting piracy means keeping a level playing field, and ensuring the most reliable products for your customers. 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.

    How Can You Tell?

    Always look for a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). A COA is a label that helps you identify genuine Microsoft software. A 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 it, you will not have a legal license to run Microsoft software. A COA should never be purchased by itself without the software it authenticates.

  • What Happens On Reporting Piracy?

    Your lead is received by a team of individuals who respond. A letter may be sent to the company stating that they have been reported for allegedly distributing Microsoft software in an unauthorised 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.

    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.

Video Library: Genuine Fact Files

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.

  • The Risks of Counterfeit

    Counterfeit software can be tempting. But weigh the risks, and you’ll see it’s definitely no bargain. The perceived "savings" of using pirated software can be wiped out in a single security breach or critical incident resulting in downtime and other expensive remedies.

    Intellectual Property Rights

    Respecting intellectual property rights laws benefits everyone. It strengthens economies, creates job opportunities, protects honest workers from losing their jobs to criminals, stimulates technological progress, and gives customers the genuine software experience they deserve while protecting them from becoming victims.

  • 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.