Friday, February 09, 2007

Teacher involved in illegal software scandal

This story has been all over the Internet this week. The BBC news reports that through Mr. Gorbachev's foundation website, Mikhail Gorbachev (former Soviet leader) has come forward and pleaded with Bill Gates to intervene on behalf of a Russian headteacher accused of using pirated software in his classroom.

Prosecutors have charged the teacher with "violating Microsoft's intellectual property rules by using computers in his school that contained unlicensed copies of the firms software....causing company losses at 266,000 roubles (~ $10,000 US)." Microsoft has replied stating it did not initiate the charges against the teacher rather the "chairman of Microsoft Russia, said: "This case was initiated by Russian authorities under Russian law."

Mr. Ponosov says he is innocent, that the software had been pre-installed and he did not know it was unlicensed when he obtained the computers. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has also come to Mr. Ponosovs defence.

CNet news reports President Putin saying "to grab someone for buying a computer somewhere and start threatening him with prison is complete nonsense, simply ridiculous, the law recognizes the concept of someone who purchased the product in good faith." The computer vendors that sold the machines should be the ones being charged.

Under Russian law, if convicted Mr. Ponosov could spend several years imprisoned in a Siberian detention camp.

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