Microsoft faces prospect of class-action lawsuit over Windows Genuine Advantage

“In the good old days of 2001, Microsoft started an aggressive anti-piracy initiative that is still alive today. Called ‘Windows Product Activation,’ Microsoft’s early iterations attempted to verify copies of Windows online, going so far as to scan system components in an effort to individually identify machines. Some five years later Microsoft is still trying to keep an eye on piracy online, but they’re going about it in a way that angers many,” Ken Fisher reports for Ars Technica.

“Los Angeles resident Brian Johnson has field suit against Microsoft in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, charging the company with failing to disclose the true nature of a similar anti-piracy tool that Microsoft has distributed. The tool in question is the now-notorious ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’—an descendant of sorts from the old WPA approach. Johnson’s complaint centers around the fact that previous versions of WGA constantly “called home” to Microsoft, which in his view constitutes a a violation of anti-spyware laws in both California and Washington State,” Fisher reports. “Johnson’s suit seeks class-action status for the complaint, and it is being fronted by Scott Kamber of Kamber & Associates LLC in New York. Kamber recently served as plaintiff’s counsel in the rootkit fiasco centering on Sony.”

Fisher reports, “According to the complaint, ‘Microsoft effectively installed the WGA software on consumers’ systems without providing consumers any opportunity to make an informed choice about that software.’ Furthermore, Microsoft was accused of ‘misleading and unlawful conduct in installing uninstallable licensing enforcement software under the guise and misrepresentation of a security update…’ Microsoft has dismissed the complaint, calling it ‘baseless.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s this, a class-action lawsuit with merit? No matter, surely Microsoft will figure out a way to make this “go away” as usual.

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Related articles:
Microsoft’s ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’ antipiracy spyware fiasco isn’t going away – June 14, 2006
Microsoft hides fact that ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’ antipiracy spyware phones home every boot up – June 09, 2006


  1. Ya know what annoys me?

    I went out and purchased a nice shiny new legal copy of Windows XP to test out Bootcamp with. It works great.

    Then I tried to use the same copy with Parallels on the SAME machine.

    Won’t let me.

    Says I have to purchase an additional copy.

    MDN magic word: Justice as in, there just isn’t any when dealing with Microslop.

  2. WGA will be the best advertising for a Mac ever.

    I love how people strategically name things to make them sound like they are beneficial to people where they really only benefit a small group of people/corporations/governments

    Windows Genuine Advantage
    The Patriot Act

  3. For every life a vaccine takes, it saves a million.

    Most of that stuff on vaccines is bullshit.

    Do you know any kids in your neighborhood with polio? Didn’t think so.

    Vaccines wiped out polio years ago. A few died during the process but untold millions live because of that vaccine.

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