Monthly Archives: September 2010

Use of pirated software give Russian authorities excuse to raid groups/newspapers

Thanks to Boing Boing for pointing this out.

Seems Russian security authorities are doing all they can to make sure Russia adheres to international copyright laws. Unfortunately, they are using that excuse to raid dissident organizations and newspapers critical of the government.

I am all for the enforcement of copyright laws, hell what freelancer isn’t? But to use the fig-leaf of this law to target government critics is wrong, especially when there are reports that the police were seen removing the Microsoft Authentication sticker from confiscated computers.

Russian cops use excuse of pirated Microsoft products to raid dissidents, newspapers, and environmentalist groups

To be clear, there is no excuse to use pirated software. When I lived in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China I heard over and over again that users of bootlegged software were “forced” into their actions because of the high cost of buying the legal software.

This is a BS argument. If someone doesn’t want to pay the cost of buying Microsoft Office Suite, then get the free OpenOffice. Some of the commentators at the Boing Boing article also point out the groups should be using the free Linux operating system.

When I was at George Mason, I told my students that if they could not afford the student-price for Office Suite, they should use OpenOffice.

Bottom line, there is NO EXCUSE for violating copyright laws. And as we see in Russia, it only gives paranoid authorities an excuse to shut down critics.

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Filed under Censorship, Harassment, International News Coverage