back to article Microsoft sued in China for black screen of death

A Chinese lawyer has filed a legal complaint against Microsoft for installing Windows Genuine Advantage on his computer. He has asked the Ministry of Public Security to file criminal charges against Microsoft. Dong Zhengwei accused the company of hacking into people's computers. He said: "I respect the right of Microsoft to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'helping customers'

    'it was helping customers who might not realise they had bought illegal copies of its products.'

    Just how precisely? you bought something now go buy it again...

    Im perfectly happy with my 'Rolex', it tells the time.

    makes you want to spit* at them.

    Good luck to this guy!

    *wipes screen again..

  2. frymaster

    Not got a lot of sympathy

    Presumably his copy of windows is, in fact, fake, which in my mind makes any outrage he might be feeling a bit laughable.

    "How dare I be faced to live up to the consequences of my actions" is not a slogan I can get behind.

    There's other reasons to not like WGA - it's false-positived legit installs in the past, for instance, but this isn't one of them.

    Oh, and if you don't like WGA? Don't install it. Automatic updates are off by default for a reason. Set it to download but not install, de-select WGA, and tell it not to notify you again. Not difficult. Sueing microsoft for auto-installing software after ticking a box allowing microsoft to auto-install software is rather stupid.

    My personal view on piracy itself is a big fat "meh" - I'm not 14 any more and so I try to buy things myself, but I don't go on a vendetta or stop speaking to those who do. Those who pirate and then whine about anti-piracy measures, however, deserve nothing but scorn.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Tom

    WGA, what a PITA!

    Installed 200 identical PC in a school, imaged all of the machines with Ghost. WGA flagged up 3 of them as 'illegal copies'. Couldn't realy be bothered to resolve it, so just reimaged them and they worked fine.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge


    So you presume that WGA never has any false positives ?

    If that were true, then your position would be understandable, unfortunately there are a lot of people around who have perfectly legitimate installs and were bitten anyway, so your presumption goes out the window of veracity.

    That said, China is a poster child for piracy, with XP discs (hologram and all) available on the street for something like $2, so, ironically, it is indeed possible that his copy is a fake one even if he doesn't know it.

    I'll wait for the results of the Chinese court to call it either way - he is a lawyer after all, he should be smart enough to avoid ruffling feathers if he is at fault in the first place.

  6. N

    If his coa is legit...

    He wont be alone & I hope he wins his case.

  7. Thomas Bottrill


    If the pirate copy you are using is made to look genuine then Microsoft has a deal whereby it'll send you a free genuine copy in exchange.

  8. Brian Miller

    Encrypt the disk for a day

    They should encrypt the disk for a day. Do that once a week, on a random day. You want your data, then fork over the money for a legitimate license. Either that or move to a FREE operating system, like Linux or Solaris. Stop carping because a company is enforcing their license.

  9. VampyreWolf

    And this is a problem why?

    How is this an issue for those of us running a black desktop to begin with? Black on the main install, blue on the virtual machine (if it's not just a toolbar like my file server).

    I'm running legal copies on all my machines, but wouldn't even notice the change anyways.

  10. ShaggyDoggy

    @Brian Miller

    Microsoft do not own your HDD

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Easy to rip out WGA once it's installed

    ...But who should have to bother? If you make something such a nuisance and so fiddly, are you really doing yourself any good?

    While piracy may not be earning MS every dollar its grubby little hands can clutch, if suddenly every bogus copy of Windows was deactivated in a foolproof way, never to return, instead of everyone coughing up money for a properly licensed copy, most (especially third-world nations) would simply turn to Linux---which wouldn't be such a bad thing really. If MS tightens up too much, it will eventually be their undoing. While obviously any company needs to earn money from their products, all those pirated copies are indirectly benefiting MS--they're keeping Microsoft's market share going in a world where Linux and Open Source software is looking better and more polished every day.

    (I liked the old penguin icon better)

  12. Charles


    But they *do* own the means by which you access it, the software that creates the file system and the drivers necessary to access your hard drive. IOW, they can legally take a "gatekeeper" position.

  13. Orellana
    Paris Hilton

    China buys legit copies???

    Yea right.....

    Paris, because she is real enough for me.

  14. David Kelly


    Your HDD partition could be accessed by other Windows machines and even other OSes. M$ has no right to make any changes to anything on your machine other than its own installed software.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Fry them

    In boiling hot oil. MS need it.

  16. Christopher Woods

    "...might not realise they had bought illegal copies of its products..."

    ... But I've always been under the impression I got my illegal copies of the Vole's products for free.

    Mine's the one with the 8-in-1 DVD-R in the left pocket

  17. alan

    GO CHINA!!!

    Good luck to the guy, hope he wins (if its a legit copy he has).

    MS need to be taken down a peg or two IMO.

    @Charles: Dude thats dumb. Micro$hit can't interfere with your hardware just to inconvenience a possible pirate that has some of their software installed on one partition on one drive...... that would DEFINITELY be illegal, considering there could be any amount of personal and important data stored on that drive.

    Its like suggesting that sony equip DVD players with melt-grade lasers so they can melt any DVD's that they consider to be possibly pirated. Utter bullshit.

    And quite apart from the above, who the hell would use an OS that might take a random hissy fit and sporadically render your drive unusable!? oh wait........people bought vista.........

  18. Mark Simon

    Legal vs Moral Right

    Obviously, M$ has a legal right to enforce its license. Hijacking and holding your system to ransom is nor normally considered a nice way to do it, and is probably illegal in most countries.

    On the other hand, how many users over the world have been forced to pay multiple times for Windows? Buy a PC or laptop, you probably bought another copy of Windows. Replace your hardware, you probably bought Windows again. M$ has no right to complain about lost revenue.

    Aren’t the real pirates the ones who ambush you, and demand your money?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh boo hoo

    If he doesn't want to pay the Microsoft tax then he should look at one of the many free alternatives. If the copy was legitimate then he could have sued MS under other grounds. If not then presuming he has the money to pay for a lawsuit then he has the money to pay for a license since MS are not a monopoly (despite them trying).

  20. Shakje


    Actually it's more like having to enter a code whenever you turn on the DVD player at the wall, so that if it's stolen you can't watch DVDs. Your example suggests Windows would fry the HDD if it detected it was pirated, which is nothing like what was suggested.

  21. Adam

    Who cares?

    Why do freetards get so indignant about this? If you're not using a stolen copy, then you won't have a problem! Sure MS is a profitable company, but so is Tesco and I'm sure you wouldn't try to justify shoplifting.

    If you want Windows, pay for it. If you don't want to pay for Windows, don't have it. Don't download a warez copy and then piss and whine because MS make a very minor inconvenience out of using stolen software! There's plenty of decent Linux distros out there, freetards.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Nice to see that Microsoft are doing something about those darned Somalian pirates.

    Seriously, though - copyright violation isn't piracy. It's not even theft. Theft is the act of permanently depriving someone of their property.

    If copying software is theft, then so is reading a book out loud, or more than one person listening to a CD at a time, or, heaven forbid, lending and sharing such things with friends and family.

    Copying is copying and is only wrong and/or immoral if you are making a profit out of someone elses creation without the permission of the creator.

  23. tony trolle


    its 'nagging' cuz a shut down of 'real' systems WOULD be lawsuits. Remember you only buy a license to use the software. Does not mean the software has to work correctly or show a desktop YOU want. Thinking about it maybe MS should have a ad based free XP version bit like live messager, with ads on the desktop........

  24. Anonymous Coward

    "Copying is only wrong if you are making a profit"

    It's all right if I start living in your place, then?

    I'm not making a profit out of it, and I allow you to keep living there,

    so you're not losing anything, right?

  25. John Savard

    Hacking into people's computers?

    It's hard to hack into someone's computer when you're doing so with their full permission. They did, after all, sign the Microsoft license agreement when they installed Windows on their computers. But there are other reasons that this action may be injudicious, particularly if it does affect the innocent purchasers of software fraudulently sold as authentic.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    re "Copying is only wrong if you are making a profit"

    I suggest you look up the word copy! Living in someone's house is not copying is it - and by living in someone else's house, you are arguably permanently depriving them or their property, even if you allow them access to it. It's OK to put a contrary point across, I'm not disputing whether the point you are making is right or wrong - just the example, at least make it sensible.

    Intellectual property is as difficult to prove as disprove. It's interesting that MS have threatened to sue GPL *nix users for intellectual copyright, when Unix - of which most of the GPL'd OS's are based - was arguably the first portable OS, which DOS arguably copied. After MS acquired DOS (after all Bill and Paul did not actually write it) they made it available at a cost - or copying someone else's intellectual property (a concept counts as intellectual property) with out permission for financial gain, which is morally wrong - as we can all agree.

    I you don't like WGA, READ THE AGREEMENT/INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE AGREEING TO INSTALL!!! It' is written in fairly simple terms. Oh - and MS, rightfully (I feel dirty now!), restrict access to some of their other software if you don't install WGA.

    Don't like MS - use a GPL alternative - that's the best way to get at them. There are plenty of alternatives out there for every piece of commercial software - some of it better than the commecially available stuff. I doubt that they actually have a leg to stand on legally when challenging the GPL - most of what Balmer has said/implied seems to be nought but FUD! This all seem fairly academic at the moment anyhow...

    As for MS replacing 'pirated' software with a genuine license - if you were to buy a Ferrari for £10000 that on the face of it was real, but turned out to be a replica, would you expect Ferrari to replace it? No. You should have realised that a new Ferrari at that price had to be a copy - or stolen. If it's too good to be true...

  27. Mark O

    @Anonymous Coward

    Copying is only wrong if you are making a profit? What a load of crap! It doesn't take much sense to work out that if everyone thought like that then Microsoft would make no money and the Windows OS would not exist. That might sound good to Linux hippies but I doubt there are many of you who absolutely NEVER use windows.

    The people who preach against intellectual property rights using the notion that ideas should be free are one step away from those who preach against property rights altogether. In my view it's hypocrisy to even use a computer if you firmly believe in principles which would have prevented such technology from ever existing.

  28. tom

    Black Background is Bad?

    But, I always use a black background, because I like the way it looks. Great, now people will think I'm a pirate.

  29. kain preacher

    I dont get it

    To the folks that say MS is wrong, they are taking control of my computer. The are simpling nagging you because they believe you didn't pay . Explain to me how this is so wrong .

  30. Charlie


    "Why do freetards get so indignant about this? If you're not using a stolen copy, then you won't have a problem!"

    If you'd bothered to read the rest of the comments, or other articles on WGA, you'd know that it has a problem with flagging up false positives, and even when it thinks your copy is geniune it imposes many frustrating restrictions.

    As with most other examples of copy-protection, they're welcome to protect their property but the methods chosen are very draconian and tend to disadvantage legitimate users far more than pirates, who find a quick way around it.

  31. Alan Fisher

    Narrow vision

    Most of us have supposedly 'Legit' versions; they come pre-installed on the machines we buy

    So, what do we do if THIS copy (which we, in effect, paid for) is illegal?? We are not at fault, but the vendor is, so why penalise the end user? This is the problem. Hardly anyone (to my knowledge) buys Windows these days unless they bought an old (pre XP) system or want to downgrade from Vista.....also, your PAID for XP disk gets scratched/damaged and you end up sodomised....hence you make a backup (I do) instead of having to buy a brand new copy.....this gets flagged as not being code-embedded...what then?

    I love the way some people not only leap but careen headlong into conclusions on here.....even going so far as to assume that the copy owned by the Chinese gentleman in question is illegal when no indication is made as to whether this is, or is not the case...simply because he's from a country where piracy is commonplace.....hmmm where does that path lead I wonder??

    Anyhoo...let's all the rabid freetard haters simmer down and get down from their tall steeds and consider other alternatives hey?

    Oh and Charles...thank the gods that you are not in any position of responsibility of making important decisions...sheesh!

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