Microsoft drives final nail in StarWorks

Second-hand PC dealers were reminded of their licensing obligations today as The Federal Court decided against Theresa Milosevic, former director of StarWorks, ruling the used PC trader had engaged in the sale of unlicensed software.

The saga began in May 1999 when Milosevic faced court as director of second-hand PC trading company Passions, which operated under the trading name of StarWorks Promotions and Marketing.

Microsoft initially took action against the company for the illegal supply of unlicensed operating systems. It was alleged StarWorks had supplied second-hand PCs ready loaded with copies of Microsoft software in both Australia and New Zealand. Such activity is in breach of Microsoft's licensing agreemnts.

StarWorks went into liquidation in May last year when the Microsoft action was initially brought against the company.

The Federal Court today declared Milosevic guilty of infringing the copyright and trademark rights of Microsoft. As the sole director of StarWorks, Milosevic has been held personally liable for the copyright and trademark infringements.

According to Microsoft, the Federal Court is also holding her personally responsible for the "misleading and deceptive conduct" committed by her company in breach of the Trade Practices Act.

An injunction has been ordered by the court against both Milosevic and StarWorks. Microsoft press representative Andrew Constance told ARN that Microsoft will be awarded costs, however the extent and nature of this payment has yet to be determined.

"The case has set a precedent, with wide implications for the second-hand computer market, by determining that the directors of the company are responsible for copyright infringements of this nature," Constance said.

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