back to article Russian teacher fined for MS piracy

A Russian headteacher has been fined half a month's wages after being controversially found guilty of buying school PCs that ran unauthorised copies of Microsoft software. Alexander Ponosov, who was fined $195, plans to appeal following his conviction on Monday at the end of his second trial for software piracy offences. He …


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  1. Sean Healey

    What about the vendor??

    Surely its the vendor of the dodgy kit who should get nailed for this, not their customer? The vendor *definitely* knew whether the kit they were selling was licensed or not.

    Case in point - the recent Russian Cisco reseller scam which got busted ...

    ...It wasn't the end purchasers of the stolen kit who were banged up, it was the vendor who had committed the actual fraud and quite rightly took the rap. Why the difference here?

  2. Gabriel

    The Logic... it hurtssss

    I struggle to fathom how going after the buyer achieves anything. If they want someone to fry at least do something logical... like going after the people that sold the hardware in the first place. You might not be able to prove that they did, in fact, sell the systems pre-loaded with illegal software but I'm sure you'll find many computers running unlicensed software in their possession.

    What kind of example would they seek to make of this teacher? An example of going after the victim because the law may allow it because you can't catch the real criminal? An example of why not to buy a system that doesn't come with at least the genuine OEM CDs?

    As a point of interest... What does software cost in Russia? Because if software in Russia costs the same as in the EU, South Africa or even the US, then the teacher's monthly salary of $360 is telltale of why piracy is rife...

  3. Tyson Boellstorff

    It costs the same...

    Around Moscow, people may have the salaries to pay for such items. In remote areas, where a teacher/administrator can get paid a salary of R10.000, ($360US), which is enough to get by (barely), high priced products like Office simply are out of reach. It was a deal that was too good to be true, and they're making an example out of him for not being aware of that.

    I feel sorry for the poor guy, and would like to point out that FreeBSD has a lot of useful Russian-language options and remains free. If software vendors want to combat piracy, they have to price their products so they can be bought relative to the local economy, or force their potential customers away from their products.

    In the final analysis, he just wanted to help his students -- that Microsoft didn't step in speaks volumes about what kind of an organization they are.

  4. John

    Re: It costs the same...

    How could they step in? "Oh, well it's OK to steal our products if you're poor."

    Now, granted, does their marketing department maybe need to reconsider their pricing in that region? Sure...I'm just saying it doesn't make much sense for them to come in after a crime has been committed and say "oh, we're not gonna prosecute those guys".

  5. mike

    damn them

    I feel for the guy why did microdoller bother as for their system well i refuse to allow their genuine advantage on my machine. It is no more than spyware.

  6. Chris Rowson


    Ah well, just another reason to use Ubuntu then eh ;-)

  7. Tyson Boellstorff

    Re: Re: It costs the same...

    ...any of a thousand ways that doesn't diminish their rights and gets them positive PR. That's how.

    Send the guy a check for $150, and tell him 'don't do it again'. You obviously haven't lived that close to the edge to understand the effect of losing half of a month's income, and the goodwill generated by an act of kindness. There are people out there looking to cheat, and there are people whose hearts are in the right place but have wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The worst thing you can do when your fellow humans are suffering is nothing.

  8. Mike Moyle

    Were I the suspicious and cynical sort...

    (...Which, of course, I'm not...!)

    ... I might suspect that the defendant's real "crime" was not buying from the right vendor; i.e., the higher-priced supplier who is protected by the former apparatchiks (now "enterpreneurs") who suubsidize the local prosecutor's salary.

    It sure is a good thing that I'm not cynical and suspicious...

  9. James Cleveland


    If anyone deserves a blind eye it is charity and state schools.

    Seriously schools in most places have trouble affording textbooks let alone overpriced copies of windows :/

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    copywrite wrong for non-1st world countries

    The United States of America was a notorious copyright infringer in the 19th and early 20th century. The USA decided to recognise international copyright only because the USA wished to sell IP to the international community.

    This model is appropriate for all 2nd and 3rd world countries: if they have enough IP to sell, they should enforce international copyright. If not, they should ignore international copyright.

    This hurts the 1st world because the 3rd world becomes the source of infringing copies. Tough, I say. Not their problem. But at most, countries that don't have IP to export should worry only about illegal IP export.

  11. Ole Juul

    Could be productive

    I feel much better now that the teacher is not going to jail, but the writer suggests that this whole affair might be "pointless and counterproductive". I agree that it is probably pointless, but there seems to be a growing understanding in Russia that this sort of thing could be avoided by using open source software. Depending on your point of view, that could certainly be seen as very productive.

  12. Gilbert Wham


    I rather think Mike has hit the nail on the head...

  13. Maligned Truth

    Missed chance for M$...

    This was another missed opportunity for Microsoft to donate 20 copies of their product to a school in a poverty stricken region of the world.

    But, those systems are now running a localized, FREE, GNU/Linux.

    You might recall the many efforts of Microsoft to get a strangle hold on schools, through the oft practiced technique of drug dealers - "here, the first hit is free!"

    Now, as of three weeks ago, with the announcement of GNU/Linux adoption by a California School Board, my count is showing GNU/Linux will be in the schools in 40 states, at tremendous savings in hardware and software, next Fall.

    Most fitting.

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