Russian Court – School Teacher – Trial Again As A Pirate

Seems that a higher Russian court has over turned a lower courts ruling and the case against a Russian school teacher must go back to trial. You may recall that the case involves a Principal at a Russian school who installed illegal Microsoft software on the school computers. The original charges were dropped until this latest judicial ruling overturned a lower courts ruling and the case is back to trial.

For those of you who read my 3 part series of Russia and their views of piracy, one can understand why the teacher used illegal software on the school systems. In Russia, where the average monthly wage is about $300 to $500, the cost of Microsoft software is cost prohibitive. Though I do not condone piracy, it is easy to understand why illegal software exists in Russia.

So it should be very interesting to see what happens in this case. Already President Putin of Russia has made the statement that this is ‘utter nonsense’. This remark reflects the Russian peoples thinking when it comes to pirated software. Also there is a feeling that software vendors should be targeted for piracy and not the consumer.

I stated before that one would think that software in other countries would be priced based on that countries economic situation and that software would be discounted to reflect this. You may also recall that Microsoft has a N version of Vista for 3rd world distribution outside of the US which I believe costs about $40, which is more in align with other countries can afford to pay.

So what’s your thinking on this matter. Should the school teacher be punished for trying to bring the best possible software to his students? Should the consumer be punished or should punishment be for the vendors only? Or should the Russians just use Linux which is free for everyone?
Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, software, pirated, linux, [/tags]

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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Tim Hodkinson

    It’s really quite a profound legal and ethical question worthy of inspiring a modern day Dostoevsky.

    When a poor man steals, he is just as much a theif as when a rich man steals. The only difference is, we have more compassion for poor theives.

    However, copyright, which is what this whole piracy thing revolves around, is not a moral absolute, I believe, like stealing is, and is based 100% on written laws or social conventions. In this case the law is a treaty to which the Russian government agreed to, in order to join the EU. It then became a Russian law.

    I’d say the teacher is guilty but that the law should be repealed, because while the Russian government gave formal approval to international copyright treaties (signed them), they have in fact never implemented it (ie. enforcement) or shown any practical agreement to it. The teacher is being sacrificed for the political aims of prosecutors and government officials.

    The Free Sofware Foundation says that copyright doesn’t really work well for software like it does for books. I think that’s the best answer to this mess that I’ve heard yet.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hi Tim,
    Thanks for the analysis. And I agree that the teacher is being made a scapegoat for a system that condones using pirated software.

  • juliane

    for educational purposes, the cost of the license must be adapted.
    commercial software societies have built fortunes, that’s enough.

    Plus, although xp is not a bad software, linux is an excellent choice :
    for the quality and for the future of development

    sorry for my english