Microsoft Corp. and eBay Inc. announced on Friday that five European countries have been added to the program for preventing the illegal sale of Microsoft software on the eBay online marketplace.

Microsoft has extended its participation in eBay’s Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO) to include the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, according to Ray Pinto, a spokesman for Microsoft Europe. The Redmond, Washington, software company is already part of the program in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the U.S.

The program, which eBay offers to all software rights holders, allows users to notify the online auction site of prohibited listings and have them removed. “Users can make reports if they see someone trying to sell what looks like pirated software. EBay monitors those reports and Microsoft has a look as well, then we work together with eBay to remove the infringing products,” Pinto said.

Other software companies taking part in the VeRO program include Macromedia Inc., Network Associates Inc. and Novell Inc., according to the eBay Web site.

“We began doing this in Germany two years ago, and there has already been a visible decrease of illegal Microsoft software products on the auction site,” Pinto said, though he was unable to cite any figures. He added that Microsoft has also noticed a sizeable decrease in pirated Microsoft software on the eBay sites in Switzerland and Austria as well.

Representatives from eBay, based in San Jose, California, could not be immediately reached for comment.



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