February 15, 2007 11:13 AM PST

Russian teacher wins software licensing case

The case against a Russian schoolteacher accused of using unlicensed software in the classroom has been thrown out, following international attention and an intervention from former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

On Thursday, a Russian court rejected the case against Alexander Ponosov, labeling it "trivial," according to the Associated Press. Ponosov told the AP that he was "off to drink champagne" following the decision.

Ponosov was accused of using unlicensed versions of the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office on 12 PCs. But he insisted he had bought the computers with the software already installed, and had no idea there might be a problem.

Under Russia's intellectual-property laws, Ponosov could have been sentenced to five years imprisonment if found guilty. The prosecution, though, had been seeking a fine of $114 (3,000 rubles), and claimed that Microsoft had suffered $10,181 in damages.

The case was brought by Russian authorities but sparked criticism against Microsoft, which is pushing for tougher action against software "pirates" globally. Microsoft has denied being involved in the case.

As reported last week, Gorbachev wrote a letter to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, arguing that Ponosov, who is from a remote village in the Urals, should be shown mercy because he did not know he was committing a crime.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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30 comments

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finally someone who has some sense of what real crime is
TRIVIAL! i like that word!
Posted by cocos2000 (37 comments )
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no kidding
and in related news, M$ finally settle with the state of Iowa for overcharging its consumers......

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21312&#38;hed=Microsoft+Settles+Iowa+Suit&#38;sector=Industries&#38;subsector=Computing" target="_newWindow">http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21312&#38;hed=Microsoft+Settles+Iowa+Suit&#38;sector=Industries&#38;subsector=Computing</a>
Posted by asdf (241 comments )
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yep, agree
Full version of Office 2007 costs an Arm and a Leg in russian money, The Professional Version of 2007 cost $499 and the Student/Teacher version costs $149. I got the Ultimate 2007 version for $75 from MS employee store through a friend that works there, who knows how much that costs.

People in Russian, not making fun by the way, make very little money, for $100 you get killed by street thugs, hell, maybe even for less than that.

No one in their right mind will pay for Legal version of Windows anything, unless it is a business that makes money, poor people will continue to buy pirated copies, if this is hard for you to comprehend, then move to Russia, find a job there, and try to survive on the money that they pay, and then you should quickly shut up.
Posted by RompStar_420 (772 comments )
Link Flag
Gee Whiz!
"Russian teacher wins software licensing case". Now, who can say that there is nor real democracy in Russia! The Russian authorities should promote all those persons in the court system who were involved in this case. Those who prosecuted should be handed one bottle of Vodka each! How about offering a paid vacation to the school teacher to come to the United States of America at Microsoft's expense!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
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This site needs a 'filter' option
So we can filter out the gibberish-spouting talkbots.
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
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It sounds like the right decision...
Here in the USA, you have to PROVE that the person KNOWINGLY bought stolen software/merchandise.

If you are caught driving a stolen car, they have to prove (to a jury) that you knew it was stolen. Otherwise, all they can do is take it away from you... You loose the car and the money you paid for it.
Posted by DougDbug (62 comments )
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Guilty of innocence
Denying that you knew it was stolen wouldn't hold up in court. Nor would the "pink slip" that accompanies the car written on a napkin and the screwdriver in the ignition help your case either. It's proving without a reasonable doubt that you're guilty.
Posted by soup_ignorant (17 comments )
Link Flag
Open Office Anyone?
Someone should alert the teacher to Open Office(Free and includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) replacements or Google office if the classroom is internet enabled.
Posted by zippydoodah (1 comment )
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Well its probably just about usable in a third world country...
Well its probably just about usable in a third world country...

The rest of us dont need a cheapo rip-off of Office 95 with half the features missing.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
Pirating MS software should not be a crime.
MS is a convicted monopolist that has caused great harm to society, yet Bill or Steve are not in jail. In my opinion pirating MS software should be deemed legal.
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
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Technicaly, you can't infringe on an illegal item to begin with
Technicaly US Copyright law says a valid defense to a claim of copyright infringement is if the item was made in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust act to begin with. You can't infringe on an item that the maker admits they used illegal means to have a monopoly of. It is 100% legal probably to make all the copies you want of Microsoft operating systems and office software and any other product they admitted they were in violation of the Sherman Anti Trust act with. However, Microsoft makes their own laws up as they go, and they are the largest donator to both political parties which is undue government influence, so technicaly Microsoft is also in violation of RICO racketeering also.
Posted by Quickshiper (18 comments )
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