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Microsoft sues Wisconsin man (again) for copyright infringement (again)

Redmond decides to go brute force route in serial piracy case

Microsoft is hoping the third time will be the charm in its efforts to shut down a man once again being accused of pirating its products.

The Redmond giant has filed suit [PDF] in the US District Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, against Anthony Boldin for illegally selling product activation keys for its products. The complaint seeks damages and a court order barring Boldin from selling its products without a license.

Microsoft said that, through various websites he owned and operated, Boldin was selling decoupled product activation keys that allowed users to authenticate pirated copies of its software.

The keys – obtained for use with academic, supplier, and internal copies of Microsoft Windows and Office – were sold by Boldin's sites to customers who were then directed to other download sites (including Microsoft's own sites) to get the software itself. To gather proof, Microsoft investigators made a handful of purchases directly from the sites.

"Microsoft has conducted seven separate test purchases from Defendants and, on each occasion, Defendants sold decoupled product activation keys," Microsoft alleges in the suit.

"The seven product activation keys originate from three different sources or programs: 1) two were issued solely for use in academic programs in China; 2) one was issued for Microsoft internal use only; and 3) four were acquired with tokens believed to be stolen from Microsoft's supply chain."

Microsoft is suing Boldin for copyright and trademark infringement for the piracy, as well as claims of false advertising and unfair competition for claiming the keys being resold were authorized by Microsoft.

This is the third time Microsoft has sued Boldin for selling pirated copies of its products. In 2001 and again in 2005, Microsoft was granted similar court orders against Boldin's businesses, the latter coming with a $1.17m damages package.

Aside from his problems with Microsoft, Boldin has also run afoul of the IRS, earning a one-year prison term for tax fraud. ®

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