Charges dropped in Russian Microsoft Piracy Case

Charges have been dropped against 40 year-old Alexander Ponosov, a Russian school principal who would have faced up to five years in prison after police seized 12 computers with more than US$10,000 in pirated Microsoft software from his school in the western Russian village of Vereschagino. Ponosov claims he bought the computers with the software preinstalled and has maintained his innocence. The charges were dropped Thursday for lack of evidence by a regional Russian court, according to Russian Information Agency Novosti, a state news agency. State prosecutors are quoted as saying they may appeal the decision within 10 days. Last week, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev asked that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates intervene in the matter saying that although Russian law allows for the prosecution of those who unknowingly use pirated software, the case against Ponosov was unwarranted. The former leader also made an emotional appeal, writing that Ponosov dedicated his life to teaching for a modest salary, which doesn't compare to those of Microsoft employees.

News source: InfoWorld

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