back to article Microsoft shields Russia's refuseniks from police harassment

Microsoft is shaking up its licensing in Russia after reports that authorities are clamping down on the use of Redmond software by government protest groups. The company has announced a sweeping software license for protest groups and small, independent media organizations that extends to all copies of Microsoft software they …

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  1. NB
    Coffee/keyboard

    title....

    "we want to be clear that we unequivocally abhor any attempt to leverage intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy or pursue improper personal gain..."

    Damn you Brad Smith, you owe me a new keyboard and a new irony meter, my old one just exploded.

    1. Chris Hance

      But his statement is entirely truthful.

      Improper personal gain is a problem. Improper corporate gain is SOP.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sound like a right move

    But... won't the police now try to prove the NGO isn't eligible?

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Convenient stick

    Yes, well the USA and companies like MS (via FACT and similar groups, or pressure via the WTO in Russia's case) always push for "tough IP laws" and have truly become the 'useful idiot' here.

    I had thought of suggesting free software using my Linux-tard hat, but the reality here is the authorities don't care and would just find another option to intimidate them.

  4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Don't use it then...

    I see a simple solution. If the security services hassle users of Microsoft products, even if they have receipts, don't use them. Use Ubuntu or the like, and there will be no grounds for problems.

    (Of course I think this is really why Microsoft is tightening/loosening things up in Russia, to prevent this.)

  5. roknich
    Big Brother

    A turnabout by Microsoft?

    The story was worthwhile if only for this quote "we unequivocally abhor any attempt to leverage intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy"

    Wasn't Microsoft all for the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act"? Bill Gates himself testified in favor of it. I wouldn't be sutrprised if his staff wrote parts of it.

    According to David Johnson's Digital Media Lawyer's Blog (as of January 2010):

    "it can still be difficult to obtain a judgment holding a defendant liable for sending a false DMCA notice."

    Which means we have a similar problem in the US.

    Will Redmond come to our rescue and make it easier to defeat an unfounded takedown order?

    I'm not holding my breath.

    David Roknich

    Galesburg, Illinois

  6. M. Burns Silver badge
    Boffin

    Bravo!

    Declaring a blanket license to all NGO's for Microsoft software in their possession regardless of the source as Microsoft had done shows characteristically good judgment on the part of Microsoft.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    What a novel idea

    ""The law in Russia (and many other countries) requires that one must provide truthful information about the facts in response to a subpoena or other judicial process."

    Why has nobody thought of this before?.

  8. M Gale
    Linux

    Cue a million commentards...

    ...telling us how the Russian protesters would be better off telling Microsoft to get stuffed and go Toy Unix.

    Which doesn't make said commentards wrong.

  9. Peter Murphy
    Unhappy

    Do Microsoft's actions make a difference?

    It appears the Russian cops will make up software piracy allegations against anti-government protest groups, regardless of the evidence. Then they will detain their equipment to "investigate" the matter. It doesn't matter if they are running Linux or Apache - the PCs are going to be nabbed anyway. Not all cops are bullies or assholes, but most of the Russian constabulary are both.

    It's good of MS to try. But I think they're missing the point.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    A glimpse of light

    So I'll be the first to use the Bill-is-an-angel icon.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    You don't know what you're doing!

    "...plans for a program to stop third-parties pretending to represent Microsoft as counsel."

    "...Microsoft will appoint an independent legal firm to investigate the NYT's claims."

    Ok, who forgot to copy the left hand in on that memo from the right hand then? I'd have thought that one of the first things they need to do in order to make it clear that third parties have no right to represent Microsoft is stop deliberately appointing third parties to, er, represent Microsoft.

    I'm sure that to them there's a world of difference between: "scumbag lawyers we're paying" and: "scumbag lawyers we're not paying", but to the rest of the world it's an imperceptibly fine line.....

    1. Shakje

      Isn't the point

      that if they didn't go to an independent legal firm then people like you would accuse them of fudging the details or lying to make themselves come out smelling of roses?

  12. Raumkraut

    Good on you, Microsoft.

    Alas, I suspect it won't be enough. What are the chances that the next few similar raids will be instigated by someone "representing" Adobe?

    Unless all these organisations only ever use Microsoft products (there's your conspiracy theory, folks).

  13. Graham Marsden
    Gates Horns

    Of course...

    ... what's good for Microsoft is good for the whole world...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    "Trust us, We're your friends now"

    As previous commentators have observed this won't stop the raids. These will continue in order to gather information err.. I mean... verify the software is genuine.

    "The company has announced a sweeping software license for protest groups and small, independent media organizations that extends to all copies of Microsoft software they already own."...

    and for which they will undoubtedly have to register their details.

    "The Unilateral NGO License will run until 2012, giving NGOs enough time to get on to its existing licensing program of discounts, the company said"...

    and if they don't they will receive a Genuine Advantage police raid with real Microsoft employees, which makes it alright...

  15. Daniel B.
    Joke

    Time for a Yakov Smirnoff...

    In Russia, Piracy comes to YOU!!!!

    In America, you buy Microsoft products. In Russia, Microsoft buys YOU!!!

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