Ponosov Found Guilty in Retrial, Fined $192
Date: Sunday, May 13 @ 09:42:41 PDT
Russian Prosecutors Win Retrial, Appeal Still Likely
Remember Alexander Ponosov? We were writing about him a couple of months ago. He's the school superintendent from a podunk school district in the Ural Mountains who bought computers from a reputable vendor, which turned out to have unlicensed Windows operating systems on it. Citing pressure from Microsoft and the West, the Russian government brought suit against Ponosov.
You may also recall that the court threw the case out back in February (we wrote about that here). Ponosov wished for his name to be cleared, and the prosecutors wished to retry the case anyway because, well, they don't like losing cases, so the case was retried.
This time, the State won the case, and Ponosov has been duly made an example of. The Russian government can now claim it deals harshly with software pirates, Microsoft looks duplicitous in it's insistence that it has nothing to do with this prosecution, and Ponosov loses half a month's salary, and now has a criminal record. An appeal is likely, although not guaranteed.
So who wins here? This cynical source of opinion thinks that this is a case of Russian revenge for the West attempting to meddle in its internal affairs, by using the letter of the law, crushing the spirit of the law, in order to show the West that it takes software piracy seriously. To say this is a black eye in Microsoft's face is an understatement. The precedent will cause many schools to abandon Microsoft in favour of Open Source solutions, which have no such problems with dodgy licenses (unless it is Microsoft selling the Linux licenses, of course). The Russian people are extremely resourceful and should never be underestimated.
If you want to read up on this case, from both Western and Eastern perspectives, consider reading this USAToday report and conversely, this Russian CNews article.