Microsoft Caught Copying Software Code In China…

from the piracy? dept

Lots of folks have been submitting the story of Microsoft’s China operations being caught with its fingers in the cookie jar in directly copying the code from a small company called Plurk. This isn’t just the look and feel that was copied, but it appears that some of the code itself was directly copied. Of course, this seems doubly amusing, since Microsoft has, in the past, been at the forefront of complaining about “piracy” in China — even as the details have long suggested Microsoft benefited greatly from unauthorized copying of its software in China, by building tremendous lock-in and making Microsoft the defacto standard. Of course, when a Microsoft exec recently announced that “piracy” was no longer a threat who knew he meant because Microsoft had decided to go in the other direction and use it to its own advantage?

Of course, I’m joking there. Microsoft continues to insist that piracy is a huge problem, and over in India, Dan alerts us that Microsoft has actually been fined for harassing “pirates” by trying to take them to court in the national capitol, instead of where the “piracy” actually happened:

According to the Court, Microsoft is needlessly abusing its unlimited cash flow as a power tool to financially hurt the defendants, who will have to travel all across the country in order to defend themselves. This abuse of “money power” to “harass” defendants is unacceptable according to the Court.

“When the constitution of India provides equality before law, this equality has to be all pervasive and cannot be allowed to be diluted because of money power or lobbying power,” Judge Dhingra commented on the case.

So, it’s fine to try to bankrupt “pirates” as you’re pirating software yourself? Of course, Microsoft will squirm out of this one just fine. It’ll claim it was a mistake, probably throw some money at Plurk (who just got a ton of free PR) and move on, still claiming that “piracy” is bad, bad, bad and must be stopped (especially in China).

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Companies: microsoft, plurk

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Comments on “Microsoft Caught Copying Software Code In China…”

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Tom D. Harry says:


I find it more funny that so many are causing such a furor over this as though it were an official certified “Microsoft Corporation Sanctioned Plan of Action.”

It’s a bit of copied code in a country and culture where copying is a way of life, especially business life, and almost certainly no more than a handful of employees was aware of it. Hold Microsoft to a fair standard as the act and react to this revelation, but blame the employees and the culture for the act.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: jeeze

and this is one of the problems with our society. If an individual or small business does infringes then sue the individual out of a house and home. If the rich and the powerful do it behind the protection of a corporation then it’s perfectly OK, there is no one to blame and certainly the rich people in control of the corporation who are responsible are not to blame. They can just pass blame off to someone else. In the end only the rich benefit, they can break laws and hide behind corporate protection.

Bjorn (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Neither the GPL, nor the BSD, limits use to only include non-commercial uses. Stop spreading FUD. In particular you (and MS) are entitled to use source licensed under the BSD in any way you see fit as long as you don’t violate any of the specifically mentioned conditions of the license (see e.g.

Bjorn (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I guess google doesn’t work on your internet. Try e.g. this article:;sid=2001/6/19/05641/7357

So, yes, MS has used BSD code in it’s tcp/ip stack, and followed the license completely. Even in my Windows 7 64bit http://ftp.exe, I find

Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of
California.n All rights reserved.nx00

which satisfies the BSD attribution clause.

There are enough real reasons to chastise MS, spreading lies about something they did right just shows intellectual laziness.

. says:


Ok so punishment is hard, but it should be equal to all parts and just and in that spirit I think financial punishment should be a percentage of the income of people or companies.


By the way, why is that courts still don’t use video conferencing?

That way a lawsuit could be filled anywhere and people should just go to the nearest court of law. Sure the government can afford broadband no?

Simple Mind says:

it is unusual for me to defend MS

I am all for frying Microsoft when they deserve it. You can perhaps blame them for a poor reaction to this incident, but I wouldn’t blame them for the incident happening (once). It is probably one developer that did this, and that developer is probably Chinese. If you recall, the same thing happened to Google a couple of years back. I was working at Google when it happened, and it was something they just weren’t expecting or looking for. After it happened they fired the guy and made it clear (to the Chinese development) that this just wasn’t acceptable practice and put in checks to make sure it didn’t happen again.

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