Free software, anyone?
In September 2004, software company Microsoft introduced a test initiative known as Windows Genuine Advantage. In October that year, users of Microsoft Windows were offered free software, provided that they ran a program to check that they are using a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows.
Photograph of shop displaying Windows Genuine Advantage ad, In October that year, Microsoft started offering free software, on the condition thatWindows Genuine Advantage be run on users’ computers.
With the permission of the user, a program or an ActiveX control will run on a user’s terminal to check that the user’s Microsoft Windows is licensed. Following this, the user may choose from products ranging from Microsoft’s Windows Defender (an anti-spyware software) to Photo Story 3 (a program that creates slide shows out of photographs) to install in his computer.
Instead of trying to reduce the rate of copyright infringement directly, WGA gives users an additional reason to run genuine copies of Microsoft Windows, and therefore seems to be one of Microsoft’s long-term strategies in their fight against DCI.
As of 2007, users whose computers are detected to run unlicensed Microsoft Windows will not be punished. It is also up to the Windows user whether to participate in this programme.