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Black Day for Pirated Software
Update: 10/24/2008 10:00:00 AM Source: China Hotels


A pirated Windows XP user had his screen blacked out by Microsoft yesterday, the first day of Microsoft's implementation of a new anti-piracy measure in China.

The user, with the Internet name Bihaibingzhou, was reported by to be the first person to have had the monitor screen blacked out.

Yesterday morning, Bihaibingzhou waited for hours to see how his computer would be affected.

"The black screen will not affect the use of computers. The computer is working normally and you can still see the icons but not very clearly,¡± he said in his blog after being blacked out.

There was no official figures showing how many users were blacked out on the first day.

According to the anti-piracy measures, Microsoft blacks out screens to constantly remind users that they are using pirated software.

Users can automatically check whether the installed Windows XP and Office software is genuine using this tool. If the computer is using pirated software, it will continue to receive the message and also frequently encounter a black screen at one-hour intervals.

It was not the first time Microsoft has used the black screen method. The company took the same action in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, South Korea and Japan several months ago.

Many Internet users said Microsoft had no legal right to black out users, saying it was the equivalent of illegally hacking into computers and there was no law empowering this.

The anti-piracy measure, which netizens called the biggest hacker action in China, was also widely questioned in suspicion of it being the action of a monopoly.

"There are 20 percent of users in China who don't know they are using pirated software, so this tool is just a customer service to users to let them know that their software is genuine and not a means to crack down on pirated software,¡± Zhang Yaqin, president of Microsoft (China) Co. Ltd., said Monday.

However, Chinese netizens have already developed a series of anti-blackout screen software and techniques to combat Microsoft's plan and protect their computers.

Editor: canton fair

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