Earlier this year, the lawsuit against a Russian high school head teacher received international attention when Mikhail Gorbachev asked Microsoft to intervene and Vladimir Putin called the case "utter nonsense." The teacher had been arrested after it was discovered that his school was using computers that had unauthorized versions of Microsoft software installed. However, the guy says he just bought the computers with the software pre-installed and had no idea that the software was unauthorized. Eventually, the court tossed out the case as insignificant, but charges were reinstated a month later. Now, the court has found the guy guilty. While they're not sending him off to a Siberian prison (an option, apparently), they did fine him more than half his monthly salary. He plans to appeal. In the meantime, it's this type of story that highlights why the BSA's bogus crackdown on unauthorized software is so pointless -- especially in areas where software companies can actually benefit greatly from unauthorized copies. Even if you assume that the teacher knew the software was unauthorized, he's getting kids hooked on it, making it more likely that they would later go out and buy copies of the software for themselves. All this case has really done is encourage Russian (and other) schools to look elsewhere for their software, which seems a lot more likely to harm Microsoft. It seems that no one involved in agencies like the RIAA, MPAA or BSA ever bother to think about the long-term consequences of their short-term strategy.
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