February 7 2007

Russian School Teacher Charged With ‘Pirating’ Microsoft Windows

A Russian teacher from Perm has been accused of pirating software for school computers. Aleksandr Ponosov, says he unknowingly purchased computers for his school with unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows pre-installed. Microsoft says that Ponosov knowingly used pirated Windows software in the school and caused the company losses of $10,000.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has written an open letter to Bill Gates asking him to show mercy on Ponosov. In his letter, Gorbachev said that “The teacher, who has dedicated his life to the education of children and who receives a modest salary that does not bear comparison with the salaries of even regular staff in your company, is threatened with detention in Siberian prison camps.” Microsoft quickly rebuffed Gorbachev’s appeal saying “We are sure that the Russian courts will make a fair decision.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also entered the debate 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.”

Link: Cnet – Microsoft spurns appeal in Russian piracy case
Link: BBC – Gorbachev wades into piracy row
Link: Gorbachev’s letter to Bill Gates (Russian)