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Gorbachev Asks Bill Gates To Save Russian Teacher From Siberia After Students Use Unauthorized Copies Of Windows

from the and-what-would-you-do? dept

Just days after having to stand idly by while the Romanian president talked up how unauthorized copies of Microsoft software helped build that country's IT industry, Bill Gates has another critical issue to decide concerning such "piracy." Over in Russia, Microsoft has apparently been pressing charges against a Russian school headteacher, Alexander Ponosov, who Microsoft accuses of running "pirated" software on school computers. According to current Russian law, if Ponosov is found guilty, he can be shipped off to Siberian prison camps -- just for helping some students get a leg up in learning to use one of the most commonly used pieces of software out there. Even worse, Ponosov says the computers came with the Microsoft software pre-loaded, so he had no idea they were unauthorized copies. Even former Soviet boss Mikhail Gorbachev is now begging Microsoft to drop the lawsuit. Apparently, current Russian leader Vladimir Putin has also asked that Microsoft reconsider. Of course, it's not entirely clear why Russian politicians don't change the law -- but it seems likely that it has something to do with the US government demanding stricter "intellectual property protections" to allow Russia into the WTO. Update: Microsoft has responded to the plea, saying they don't plan on changing a thing, and expect the lawsuit to continue.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 4:30pm

    One day in the life of a software pirate

    LOL, well I guess it's eating magots and drinking melted snow for him. That will teach the counter-revolutionary scumbag! Cmon, nobody goes to Siberian prison camps Alexander Solzhenitsyn style since the Union fell apart. At least in Russia they still need a reason to send you there :) troll, troll troll!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Casey O'Rourke, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 4:43pm

    uh duhh...

    he's a teacher? is that the only angle on this guy?

    by that alone, i hope most people would agree, set the guy free.

    if he's standing outside handing out disks to people on the street, or worse selling the software, then fine. fine him. jeez.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Whirler, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 5:34pm

    Hello Idjets

    Pointless effort!

    Find out where the systems came from and back track to get the clowns who are pre-loading the pirate'd OS! Hello, what happened to the famous Russian intel of yester-year? I am sure MS would love to go after the "real" criminals here. Clearly going after the wrong guy, a teacher C'mon!!! Either the facts are not straight or someone needs to pass that pipe!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Sam, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 5:47pm

    Soviet Russia

    In Soviet Russia, Software Pirates You!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    E, S & L, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 5:53pm

    Thank you

    Dear Bill, we've been having trouble lately. People are starting to question our "Don't be evil" PR gimmick. Helping censorship in China and our heavy handed political manipulations in the US to get special tax breaks are making our facade crack.

    We'd like to thank you for prosecuting school teachers in Russia. Since the teacher is actually a victim in this case and not the perpetrator of the crime, you really look bad. Thanks for diverting attention from us.

    Yours in internet duopoly,
    E, S & L

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    nonuser, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 6:51pm

    stealing a page from an old rival

    "Chairman Gates, if you are really care about children, open up these PCs. Chairman Gates, if you want better education, if you care about the lives of teachers, tear up this lawsuit".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    The Swiss Cheese Monster, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 6:56pm

    Was he given a chance to correct the problem? If not, then set him free. But if he refused to comply with the law - then maybe some discipline needs to be handed out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    AT, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    Russian teacher

    What greedy pricks we have all become.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 10:13pm

    Did he know?

    The law should be analogous to the laws regarding recieving stolen goods, in that if you acted in good faith, and were unaware that there was any irregularity in the producst, then you are fine, but if you knew the goods were dodgy, then you have broken the law. While the idea of counting trees just for using pirated XP. The beeb puts the figure 0f 266 000 Roubles as M$'s losses, whereas the Trib says that that is what the fine he faces is. I would like to see a breakdown of what was on these computers that, paying full prices, he could have spent $10 000 on. Of course, if Putin cares, and the press officers don't forget (a week is a long time in politics), the instant he gets scentenced, Putin can sign a full pardon. If he doesn't have that right, then there is always an enabling act, and thepublic outcry there must be large for Putin and Gorbachev to have (now that?) made such a fuss, so a change in teh law would probably be welcomed.

    Maybe over the whole copyright law issue, Russia should just vote against the USA in the Security Council until America shuts up and leaves them alone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Shohat, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 11:49pm

    Doesnt make sense

    It can't be Microsoft's decision to press or not press criminal charges . A person cannot be sent to jail due to a civil lawsuit in Russia .
    If he CAN be sent to jail , it means it's not Microsoft that are suing him , but he is being prosecuted accoding to Russian law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    ScytheNoire, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 1:54am

    yup, Shohat is correct. if it's a criminal case, it's beyond Microsoft's control.

    but, his lawyer, if worth a dollar, would point out that these machines were pre-bought with Windows on it, thus, he was not aware it was pirated and give the info of where they were bought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 3:48am

    I smell a rat

    Gorbachev is a consumate politician and as such I respect him greatly but this sounds more like grandstanding for Russia to set precedents to me

    The teacher is from an area of russia that include Siberia so if he is being sent to prison its not unusual he would be sent there - end of that sensationalism

    Russian law is what is stating he should go to prison not Microsoft, if it is wrong that a person should go to prison for such a crime it is Russian law which should change. Again if the 'camps' are that bad that they are embarassing Russia, the Russian prison system should change

    Microsoft did not bring the charges (even the teacher states this) Russian prosecutors did

    I don't like the idea of the guy going to prison either and if the Russian courts have any sense of justice he should not based on the evidence so far presented, but basically this sounds to me like hyped up sensationalised attention grabbing from our Russian friends, to gain precedents and concessions in what they see as unfair treatment at the hands of the WTO and in recent allofmp3 developments

    I think they've been watching too many American politicians 'saving the kids' and picked the wrong example for how to engage in this type of dispute

    They need to call off their dogs and return to the table - the WTO is crappy but "sign here or the teacher gets it" is no way to go about changing it

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Nobody Special, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 4:46am

    theater lives on

    The guy is being prosecuted as part of the theater Russia has decided to engage in to help their bid to join the WTO. And who better to play to then M$?

    The reason something was written to Gates is that if he publicly said something then it would go remove the incentive to use this man as their puppet. Keep in mind that M$, RIAA, and MPAA are probably the loudest in shouting for something to be done about the money they supposedly are not making.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Cixelsid, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 7:51am

    Re: by The Swiss Cheese Monster

    Was he given a chance to correct the problem? If not, then set him free. But if he refused to comply with the law - then maybe some discipline needs to be handed out.

    Yes that's right, some discipline needs to be handed out, send the lazy cuntfuck to Siberia, that'll teach him to pirate an OS so he can educate his students.

    Haha, teach the teacher. That's funny.

    I hope this teaches us that we should keep a handy copy of Ubuntu nearby and to hand microsoft a resounding fuck you when next we decide to buy an O.S.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    angry dude, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 1:14pm

    Sad indeed...

    Some small fry is prosecuted for IP violation, while the big guys, including Mr. Gates himself, get away with stealing other people's IP every day.
    This is the world we live in...

    Too bad that willfull stealing of patented inventions from small inventors is not a criminal offense in US:
    I would love to see some of those MS execs in jail...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    sam, Feb 8th, 2007 @ 10:07pm


    The man is a criminal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    jc, Feb 13th, 2007 @ 8:19am

    M$ and Gates vs. China

    Remember when Bill was crying China wasn't doing enough to stop software piracy?

    So China rounded up some low level criminals that were selling pirated copied of Windows and executed them?

    Few weeks later, here's Bill again, saying China wasn't doing enough to stop software piracy.

    At what point does this guy ever go, "Oh, geez. Maybe I'm over reacting."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Dow, Feb 17th, 2007 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Did he know?

    hmmm.. the USA is not filing this lawsuit, the one filing the lawsuit is MICRSOFT so voting against the USA in the Security Council would do nothing except ripping a hole in the peace between Russia and USA. not that Russia is even a threat anymore. in fact its the oposite. though they are showing signs of reverting back to communism, back on topic, Microsoft is a money whore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2007 @ 5:56pm

    Hey author, the son of a bitch!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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