Guatemalan Company Sues Microsoft for Anti-Piracy Raid

Seguros Universales, one of the largest insurance companies in Guatemala has sued Microsoft over what is being called an unwarranted and extortion-like anti-piracy raid. With the help of local law enforcement Microsoft demanded an on the spot payment of $70,000 from the company for the use of pirated software or they said would have all of a company’s computers confiscated.

"Microsoft appeared with armed Guatemalan law enforcement officers and halted plaintiffs’ business operations. Microsoft then proceeded to extort Plaintiffs by demanding an on-the-spot agreement to pay $70,000 or Microsoft would remove all servers containing ALL data and operational software," the company claims.

The company alleges that the raid was "unwarranted" because it has payment receipts for 98 percent of the software licensing fees. The company also accuses Microsoft of operating a racketeering scam in the country, wrongfully targeting many companies for allegedly using pirated software.

Naturally Microsoft denies all of these accusations, but Latin America is not the only place where Microsoft has allegedly employed similar tactics to deal with piracy.

In Belgium, a long running lawsuit over a similar matter came to an end last week. In this case local printing company Deckers-Snoeck sued the BSA over a raid where Microsoft was also listed as one of the complainants. The company claims that the raid came unannounced (as raids often are) and the BSA was assisted by local law enforcement. The company was told that all its computers would be taken away for the alleged use of pirated software unless it paid 30,000 euros ($40,000) in settlement fees.

"It was a robbery more than a check-up," Deckers-Snoeck CEO Joris Deckers told De Tijd.

The company claims that it was forced to shut down the company because it refused to pay the money that was being asked for.

The raid took place in 2003 and after a legal battle spanning over ten years, the Brussels Appeal Court decided last week that BSA’s practices were “deceptive.” The printing company won the case and the Court ruled that it was not obliged to pay any damages to the software group. According to Tom Heremans, the lawyer of the printing company, this judgment paves the way for other companies that have been pressured into making similar settlements when not all software was unlicensed.

The BSA claims that it has changed its policy since then and that companies get a warning first before they show up with the police. This change in policy does not yet apply to Latin America, apparently…

Source: TorrentFreak

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    greevar says:

    Are you serious? We're talking about business machines and a 2% share? Get real. Linux is everywhere. Linux runs the internet and many businesses couldn't function without a web presence. I suppose IBM is just wasting their time on Linux too? I also suppose you've never heard of a VPN? By the way, Samba4 can do AD. ActiveX is a broken, insecure pile of crap. IT wouldn't need training. Linux is a required subject in every IT degree. You can't call yourself IT without knowing Linux. Honestly, you act like it's impossible to function without Windows, which is just stupid. You most certainly can and you don't have to use wine for everything, that's just Windows addiction and a lack of resourcefulness.

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Remote-access security?  No, Linux does not.  That all but mandates a third-party solution, and Linux doesn't have any that are as good as what are available on Windows.

    This comes back to the fact that Linux has, what?  A 2% marketshare worldwide?  Nobody's going to waste their time trying to make the kind of products available on Windows for Linux.  It wouldn't be worth the effort in the end.

  3. 0
    greevar says:

    You're seriously complaining that Linux doesn't have security that's on par with Windows? Are you joking? Linux has security that blows the doors off of Windows.

    If giving up Microsoft software is such a difficult thing, maybe that's part of what's wrong with MS software?

    Honestly, you're nit-picking over proprietary features that one could get along without or find sufficient equivalents.

    Here's a novel idea! Since all these businesses are so dependent on these features, why don't they pressure the Linux developers to provide it?  Then, they can maintain and improve those tools for themselves because it's open source and they are free to make it their own. Microsoft won't give them their source code. That's a huge benefit and gives companies the ability to keep their tools up to date and free of proprietary control.

  4. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    While true, you must remember that this whole thing came about because the company in question was using pirated software, by their own admission.

    98% < 100%.

  5. 0
    Left4Dead says:

    Look, I'm all for switching to Linux if that's your thing to do, but let's see what business users actually use:

    ActiveDirectory sign in without blowing holes open in the security infrastructure that is easy to use for Linux?  Doesn't exist.  There's LDAP but nothing compares to AD.  Importing your entire existing AD security setup to Linux?  Also doesn't exist in any usable form.  Tons of incomprehensible, technobabble docs, almost nothing practical.  Basically, no one does this.

    Office suite + a full Outlook equivalent for Linux?  Doesn't exist.  OpenOffice and the latest fork LibreOffice can't do what Office does because Linux itself is incapable (i.e. Cross-suite integration via COM + scripting via VBA or an equivalent – and don't even think DBUS is even close because it isn't, no Office scripting is a huge showstopper).

    Photoshop and Illustrator for Linux?  Doesn't exist.  And don't tell me GIMP or Inkscape are anywhere even close because they aren't.

    Crystal Reports equivalent for Linux?  Doesn't exist.  Sure you could try Wine but running anything via Wine is a painful experience.

    Internet Explorer ActiveX equivalent for Linux?  Doesn't exist.

    An equivalent for the zillions of custom-built, proprietary, enterprise-y solutions that were built for Windows?  They don't exist.  Again, maybe Wine, but they probably won't run at all.

    For most businesses, switching to Linux is impossible because their entire platform is Windows-based.  About the only thing I've ever seen Linux get halfway right is network file sharing – but that's a pain to set up especially with AD/LDAP in the mix.  And don't forget training costs!  IT would have to be trained and then the rest of the business as well.  The business would have to pay someone to port their proprietary Windows apps to Linux ($$$$).  Switching would be a multi-year process with little gain and would most likely be cheaper to pay the extortion fees.

    -- Left4Dead --

  6. 0
    prh99 says:

    IT is extremely conservative in the sense they are not quick to change, and when something works you'd be hard pressed to convince them a change is need.  Heck the company I work for has only now started rolling out Window 7 to replace it's old XP machines. 

    The whole reason we had Y2k 13.5 years ago was cause old Cobol code stuck around far longer than anyone expected, cause it worked up to that point.

Leave a Reply