For many years, Microsoft and the Software Alliance (BSA)
have carried out piracy investigations into organizations large and
Companies accused of using Microsoft software without permission
usually get a letter asking them to pay up, or face legal
This also happened to Hanna
Instruments, a Rhode Island-based company that sells analytical
instruments. Last year, the company
was accused of using Microsoft Office products without a proper
In a letter, BSAs lawyers informed Hanna that it would face up
to $4,950,000 in damages if the case went to court. Instead,
however, they offered to settle the matter for $72,074.
Adding some extra pressure, BSA also warned that Microsoft could
get a court order that would allow U.S. marshals to raid the
Where most of these cases are resolved behind closed doors, this
one escalated. After being repeatedly contacted by BSAs lawyers,
Hanna decided to take the matter to court, claiming that Microsoft
and BSA were trying to extort money on baseless accusations.
BSA, Microsoft, and their counsel have, without supplying one
scintilla of evidence, issued a series of letters for the sole
purpose of extorting inflated monetary damages, the company
informed the court.
Late last week Microsoft and BSA replied to the complaint. While
the two companies admit that they reached out to Hanna and offered
a settlement, they deny several other allegations, including the
Instead, the companies submit a counterclaim, backing up their
copyright infringement accusations and demanding damages.
Hanna has engaged and continues to engage in the unauthorized
installation, reproduction, and distribution and other unlawful use
of Microsoft Software on computers on its premises and has used
unlicensed copies of Microsoft Software to conduct its business,
According to Microsoft and BSA, the Rhode Island company still
uses unauthorized product keys to activate and install unlicensed
Turning Hannas own evidence against itself, they argue that two
product keys were part of a batch of an educational program in
China not for commercial use in the United States.
Microsoft / BSA