microsoft russia.jpg
UPDATE: Microsoft made a major change to its policy in response to the story.

If you made a list of crimes that the Russian government

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Microsoft Helping Russian Police Quell Dissent?

microsoft russia.jpg
UPDATE: Microsoft made a major change to its policy in response to the story.

If you made a list of crimes that the Russian government should be worried about in order of their importance to state security, "pirated software" would land somewhere below corruption, political assassinations and every other type of crime in Russia. So it's funny -- or depressing, your choice -- to see Russian police raiding the offices of outspoken advocacy groups and opposition newspapers because they suspect they're using unlicensed versions of Office 2010, an excuse so flimsy Vladimir Putin wouldn't even have to go shirtless to subdue it. Not so funny is how Microsoft is reacting to the raids.

UPDATE: Yesterday Microsoft announced that it will offer advocacy groups a blanket license for free. This would make it impossible for Russian authorities to bust them on the premise that they stole their software.

"We want to be clear that we unequivocally abhor any attempt to leverage intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy or pursue improper personal gain," General counsel Brad Smith wrote in a post on the company's blog. "We are moving swiftly to seek to remove any incentive or ability to engage in such behavior."

 
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