Microsoft to use comics in antipiracy campaign

Microsoft is expanding its fight against software piracy with a new educational effort that includes comics.

The online campaign, set to start on Monday, is meant to tell people the benefits of using properly licensed software. It covers such aspects as awareness of intellectual property rights, risks of using pirated products, proper licensing practices and legalization of fraudulent products.
Windows XP

"We want to enable customers to make informed decisions that are best for their business by providing them with the facts that they need," Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative, said in an interview.

Dubbed "Genuine Fact Files," the campaign is now launching in the U.S. It went online last month in Italy, France, the U.K., Indonesia, Brazil, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Microsoft plans to draw attention to it through banner ads on its Web sites and promotional material that it will hand out through partners. By using comics, the company aims to make the message more accessible to a broader audience. They are black and white, in a style similar to newspaper comics.

Microsoft has escalated its effort to combat piracy since mid-2005. Windows users now have to electronically verify their license with Microsoft before downloading additional Microsoft software such Internet Explorer 7. Also, Microsoft pushes out a utility that checks whether Windows installations are legitimate through the same Automatic Updates feature it uses to distribute security patches.

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