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Pirated Windows Costs Teacher Half-Month’s Salary

A teacher in Russia has been ordered to pay 5,000 rubles ($194.4), about half his monthly salary, for pirating Windows for school computers. Alexander Ponosov was charged with installing Windows and Office on 12 computers for his students.

This case is ridiculous on so many levels:

Microsoft didn’t sue the guy - A Microsoft spokesman is making it quite clear the company is not responsible for this, and says it is interested in stopping software pirates, not schoolteachers (and that the teacher was probably helping them more than hurting them).

The guy says he didn’t do it - According to Ponosov, the computers came preloaded with unlicensed copies of Windows. In a country where you can get Windows on the street for six dollars, that’s pretty likely.

He already won the case - Ponosov’s case was thrown out by a court which ruled that the losses were too small to be worth its time, but Ponosov asked for a retrial because he wanted to be declared innocent! What a moron! You won, go home! Now he’s out half a month’s salary over what? Pride?

Basically, this guy is the victim of a justice system that is working hard to appear tough on piracy as it gets close to entering the World Trade Organization. Wrong place, really really wrong time.

Oh, and good for Microsoft, standing up for educators who maybe need to pirate Windows in order to afford it. I remember running student organizations in college, and we pirated anything we couldn’t get budgeted, because it was the only way our computers were ever going to work. And no one lost real money, because the people doing the pirating are all now professionals, paying thousands for the same publishing/editing tools and operating systems they stole years ago.

That’s the way you grow a software market, by ensuring those who are just starting out have the means to steal their way in. Microsoft should hope somebody releases a reliable crack for Vista, else college students will just keep pirating XP through the end of the decade.

May 8th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows | no comments
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