back to article City of London cops arrest 6 suspected to be Microsoft counterfeit ring

The cops have cuffed six people from Barton-upon-Humber and the surrounding area on suspicion of flogging counterfeit Microsoft gear online, the City of London (CoL) police has confirmed. The arrests which took place last Thursday (21 November) were all part of the national Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit investigation …


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  1. Don Jefe


    I wonder how cops value counterfeit goods? Is it at the actual retail price or is the value reduced by the amount that (MS in this case) says is added to the value because something is a 'Genuine' product?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Valuation

      Like drugs, they value it at the sum of the tiniest amounts sold in the shadiest deals.

      But its more honest than stuff like politician's estimate of benefit fraud, which is based on nothing at all.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Valuation

        Coincidently, £100k is about what the politicians want their salary to be. Most probably, with expenses on top.

        If Microsoft dropped their prices somewhat, this won't be an issue

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Valuation

      > I wonder how cops value counterfeit goods?

      It's related to the number of expensive lunches the chief inspector and senior staff have been taken to by the manufacturers of the genuine goods.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Valuation

      It is the actual retail price without any volume or other discounts, and including VAT which the customers would be able to claim back.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Valuation

        Being such a nice round number I expect it's much more likely that they just pulled it out of their ass.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Valuation

          >>Being such a nice round number I expect it's much more likely that they just pulled it out of their ass.

          I dunno. Whenever I "pull a number" out of my arse it tends to be long and cylindrical with a taper at the end. Here's one now: 000.00007

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oh god! The Stink!

            Your 000.00007.

            These days you're expected to carry plastic bags with you, pick it up using one, and place in the provided receptacle.

      2. dodgydave

        Re: Valuation

        I think you are living in a cloud?

        This price is pie in sky, they have only just been arrested so how can they provide an accurate figure.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Valuation

      It is based entirely on what is perceived likely to produce the most favourable headlines from the press, and therefore public perception of the operation/police. Its an entirely new branch of pseudo-mathematics in which an actual number can successfully be multiplied by a political slogan such as "tough on crime" or "cracking down" to produce a result as close to CB* as possible.

      Much of the early pioneering development was done by Digby (now Lord, so it clearly works) Jones formerly of the CBI, although his work was more narrowly tailored to target R4s influential Today 0810 political slot. Douglas Adams is believed to have considered including the early theories in Life the Universe and Everything, but in the end dismissed them as barking, and instead included the far more believable Bistromatic Drive. It is now widely deployed across the business and political spectrums despite its occasional habit of colliding unpleasantly and embarrassingly with reality**.

      * Credible Bullshit or Complete Bollocks depending on your school of thought.

      ** See government arguments on HS2, tax cuts for the wealthy etc etc etc

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    is this the "value of the software, had it been sold on the high street for the asking price"? Probably. So... er... it's like... not a major crime ring bust, is it?

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: £100k

      Kinda comes off like someone who "pirated" Server 2012 and a copy of SQL. Maybe a few copies of Office and Win 7. OOooooOOoooOOOOoooooooOOooo....

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: £100k

      "So... er... it's like... not a major crime ring bust, is it?"

      Oh I dunno, a hundred thousand quid ain't exactly your Del Boy League, and it would keep me in reasonable comfort for about five years if I just stuffed the notes under the floor and pulled out fistfuls when the bills came due, and it would buy a very decent education and leave no long-term debt hanging around one's neck.

      The trick is to not lose sight of the zeroes when big amounts are being discussed in words.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: £100k

        Except for the part where "£100k" means "full retail pricing with the maximum possible inflation of cost presuming that everything was bought under the most customer-hostile processes."

        Which probably means half to a third of that in real-world dollars. Or about year's salary for one person. Also known as "the difference between an SMB with 10 employees folding and everyone losing their jobs or just managing to barely stay above water."

        Context. It is lacking. But hey, OMG THINK OF THE STARVING MILLIONAIRES IN REDMOND *sob*. That's always a hit with the crowd and the logic is a hoot.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £100k

        but it wasn't just one mega-crook, was it? They arrested six. God, some MPs' expenses for fixing their fishpond easily top that!

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    Fake Product Key ?

    What is a "Fake Product Key" ?

    Are they products keys that work but were not generated by a Microsoft Algorithm, if so that is very interesting, or are they genuinely fake in that they don't work at all ?

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Fake Product Key ?

      > or are they genuinely fake

      Hey! this fake product key works. Can I get a refund?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Fake Product Key ?

        Can I get a refund?

        No, but if you bring it back I'll replace it with a proper fake one that doesn't work.

    2. theblackhand

      Re: Fake Product Key ?

      I guess they are for activating fake products?

      I wonder how you tell you have a fake product? Is Windows misspelt as "Wimdows" or is the logo just a little smeared?

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Fake Product Key ?

        The windows logo is replaced by a little penguin......

  4. darklord


    It cost more for the police operation for such a small return. Completely pointless hardly a multimillion pound empire but of course this is a deterent.

    Charge the same as Apple IOS or linux for an OS and its no longer viable to counterfiet simples.

    Keep money grabbing the way MS do and its lucrative.

    No fanbois here just simple common sense. where did my Tax money go again.

    1. btrower

      Re: 100k


      Re:"It cost more for the police operation for such a small return"

      My thinking exactly. Who has done the most criminal damage here? One is infringing copyright and has deprived Microsoft of maybe $100K, while putting more money directly into the UK economy by saving their customers money, keeping money in the UK rather than exporting it to the US and by the possible productivity enhancements gained from using the software. Net injury to the society ultimately paying the bills? Possibly none at all. The other is misusing tax dollars coerced out of the body politic under the false pretense of serving them and using those dollars to illegally trespass on the privacy rights of the body politic rather than spending them to protect the persons and property of citizens. Net injury to the society ultimately paying the bills? Very large, wasting money, destroying respect for and faith in the rule of law and possibly even causing physical harm to people assaulted on their watch while they have been surfing the web.

      The people who belong in jail are the individuals misappropriating public funds and otherwise breaking the law to serve the illegitimate needs of their corporate masters.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: 100k

        "One is infringing copyright and has deprived Microsoft of maybe $100K,"

        Try $15k and you'd be much closer to the mark.

    2. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: 100k

      I agree, up to a point. Now consider how much does it cost to track down a murderer for such a small return; it's not as if the deceased will come back to life, or the perp will pay some form of life debt to the deceased's family. Despite that it is VERY worthwhile for the police to pursue the crime.

      In this case it is most likely (having done this sort of thing with financial fraud) that MS did all the work, put it in a nice box, handed it to the City boys and said "book him Danno". Hence, a relatively small cost to you, the taxpayer.

      Is it really £100k? no. Is it worse than murder? no. Is it a crime? yes. Are we now saying that certain crimes should be ignored? How about shoplifting? A banana stolen from Sainsbury's won't hurt the big "S", so one would assume that because Sainsbury's makes money out of you it would be fine to steal from them. Only it's not.

      1. Shaha Alam

        Re: 100k


        cops - hurray easy win.

        MS - meh, we're losing a little less money. possibly.

        crims - gosh darnit, we been busted.

        joe public - this means sod all to me or to my community.

      2. btrower

        Re: 100k

        Re:"Is it a crime? yes."

        It should not be a crime. It is copyright infringement. It is not on a par with the theft of a tangible object. Stealing deprives the original owner of its use. Copyright infringement does not realistically even deprive the copyright holder of income. It just allows the infringing user to use something that might otherwise be denied to them. The notion that the bogus conflated notion of 'IP' is property is a lie promoted by rent-seekers and their lackeys.

        The savings and loan and sub-prime mortgage disasters and the illegal wars, detention and torture are real crimes doing vast damage to the entirety of the body politic and grotesque personal injury to many individuals. Some of the injured were innocent children.

        The shameful waste of money and illegal invasions of people's privacy done in support of rent-seekers has nothing at all to do with the rule of law. It makes a mockery of the rule of law. That is true especially in light of the fact that it uses resources that could otherwise be used to *stop* atrocities like torture.

        I am an outspoken critic of copyrights, but I myself am careful not to infringe copyrights. I do that as a matter of personal ethics even though I think civil disobedience in this case is justified. The public at large, though, seems to have voted with its feet and it does not think of copyright infringement as something criminal per se. It certainly does not equate it with violent crime or theft of tangible property. I have no doubt that a properly informed public would vote overwhelmingly to abolish copyrights. I am not as sure, but it seems to me if the public was fully aware of what has been happening here, they would take a very dim view of the officials involved and might support prosecution of them. I would.

        I am torn about retroactive punishment even of scumbag rent-seekers and their hired thugs. However, I would definitely support legislation that held public officials and corporate board members personally accountable for their malfeasance.

        Re:"Are we now saying that certain crimes should be ignored? How about shoplifting? A banana stolen"

        I am saying that we have a right and arguably an obligation to repudiate the criminalization of activities like reading and making use of art and knowledge.

        I am saying that theft of a tangible thing that deprives its owner of the enjoyment of its use is different in kind than reading things one is forbidden to read or making use of knowledge one is forbidden to use.

        I am saying that there are priorities to our pursuit of justice and that we should pursue justice reasonably within our means. An informed public would never agree to invasion of their privacy to pursue criminal penalties for trivial trespasses in order to benefit a small number of rent-seekers whose interests are at odds with ours. Certainly no sane and sensible person with a whisper of decency would think that we should be devoting significant resources to this while we ignore people being detained without trial and tortured, ignore the theft of millions of people's life savings, ignore the debasement of our currency, the robbery of our pensions, thoughtless shredding of constitutions, etc.

        Whether you think copyrights have any merit or not, until we have properly re-established the proper rule of law, we have much, much bigger fish to fry.

      3. h3

        Re: 100k

        They are doing exactly what Benjamin Franklin did during the forming of the United States coincidently with British intellectual property. (Money staying in the country is better than money going out - he understood that).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    City of London Police

    That'll be the bunch that go after pensioners rather than the corporates/bankers that have defrauded the country of billions.

  6. jonathanb Silver badge

    Why City of London Police?

    Barton upon Humber is in Humberside Police's patch, so surely they should be doing the arrests, and City of London Police should be sticking to their own little country-within-a-country in the Square Mile.

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Why City of London Police?

      Fraud Squad based there, Wood Lane I think.

  7. All names Taken

    Barton upon h?

    Why that's accountant territory no?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there really any money to be made counterfeiting MS products in this day and age?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Is there really any money to be made counterfeiting MS products in this day and age?

      if you take a look at ebay, there's plenty of stuff which is sooo obviously fake. Some stuff that's less obvious. And tonnes of stuff which is original disk but without certificate of authenticity, which means... ;)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The City of London ..

    The "City of London", that's who really runs GB/UK, not the Queen and not David 'Dave` Cameron. Not only that, the `Ministry of Justice' is a private company trading as `Hm Courts & Tribunals Service' ..

  10. We're all in it together

    I may have a fake copy

    I reckon I have. My desktop has been replaced with squares and rectangles and I have no start button. Not only that but I have two copies of Internet explorer. My previous copy I could find everything easily.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: I may have a fake copy

      I've seen loads of these - lots of them were really obvious fakes because they didn't have a proper COA with the product key on them...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Would microsoft have even paid tax on that 100k? Or would it have been creatively managed to the point where we'd be no better off than we were with the criminals shifting these products

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: 100k

      Microsoft Ireland would pay the appropriate tax after claiming all relevant expenses such as copyright, trademark and patent royalties payable to other companies in the group.

  12. A. H. O. Thabeth

    £100k or £2Billion?

    Number of arrest in under valuing the Post Office by £2,000,000,000? Answer: None.

    Cost to each man, woman and child is £33 of the undervaluing the Post Office.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I heard it was 100,000 of Surface's and they couldn't even get a pound for them though. That is a pound for the whole lot, not just one.

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