Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 12th Sep 2010 21:16 UTC
Microsoft Piracy is a big problem for large software vendors licensors like Microsoft. As such, the Redmond giant is undertaking several anti-piracy efforts all over the world, and, of course, it attempts to make its software harder to crack through activation and validation. As The New York Times has discovered, however, the prevalence of pirated Microsoft software in Russia is giving the Russian authorities a pretence to raid the offices of outspoken advocacy groups or opposition media - supported by Microsoft lawyers. Update: Microsoft responds with a blog post that says all the right things, including "Microsoft will create a new unilateral software license for NGOs that will ensure they have free, legal copies of our products."
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lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

So the advocacy groups legally buys licensed Microsoft software, and still end up getting screwed over by the government by a pretence that it is pirated software.


Clearly, the best thing to do is to completely avoid running commercial-licensed software. This way, even the most unscrupulous of authorities cannot go after you, and confiscate your computers, through claiming "investigation of piracy" as an excuse. One cannot pirate software for which everyone has unconditional permission to execute.

In an environment like Russia, I am surprised that advocay groups apparently did not figure this out for themselves.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

I'm sure something about patent violation could be trumped up. Even if they used GNUsense, they could blow some smoke about GUIs, or file management concepts, even if it's all unfounded.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'm sure something about patent violation could be trumped up. Even if they used GNUsense, they could blow some smoke about GUIs, or file management concepts, even if it's all unfounded.


The "authorities" do not have a right to prosecute patent violations, only the patent holders do.

Reply Parent Score: 5

qbast Member since:
2010-02-08

Cannot? They went after group that had fully licensed Microsoft software. What makes you think that using GNU would prevent authorities from raiding them, taking the computers and then slowly and carefully investigating if their software is indeed legal?

Reply Parent Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Cannot? They went after group that had fully licensed Microsoft software. What makes you think that using GNU would prevent authorities from raiding them, taking the computers and then slowly and carefully investigating if their software is indeed legal?


The only thing that can make software illegal is if it is copied without permission from the authors.

Any authorities, even Russian, would be unable to pretend that they did not know that everyone has such permission form the authors of GNU/Linux GPL software.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7034828.stm
Schoolchildren in Russia are to be taught using the free, open-source Linux software in an effort to cut the cost of teaching information technology.

By 2009, all computers in Russian schools are to be run on Linux - which means they will not have to pay for a licence for software, such as Microsoft's Windows.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

[qClearly, the best thing to do is to completely avoid running commercial-licensed software. This way, even the most unscrupulous of authorities cannot go after you, and confiscate your computers, through claiming "investigation of piracy" as an excuse. One cannot pirate software for which everyone has unconditional permission to execute.

In an environment like Russia, I am surprised that advocay groups apparently did not figure this out for themselves. [/q]
Running Linux (for example) wouldn't protect you.

These people weren't raided because they were running Windows, they were raided because they were suspected for running illegal copies of Windows.

You can be running Linux and still be a piracy suspect and sadly the only way to prove yourself innocent is to have your computers seized.


This is why Microsoft should have stepped in. But clearly they've always been more motivated by money than customer experience.

Reply Parent Score: 5

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

You can be running Linux and still be a piracy suspect and sadly the only way to prove yourself innocent is to have your computers seized.


In the face of protests from the accused, this is not a PR-credible act for a government ... at the very least it is considerably less credible than the case where the accused admit to be using commercial software.

It is quite possible (you could even go so far as to say easy) to run a perfectly clean "no piracy" shop using freedom software, but it is actually a bit of a task to ensure your operation is 100% copyright compliant when you are running commercial software on multiple machines.

Edited 2010-09-13 13:09 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2