Microsoft has begun an effort to prevent governments from using laws regarding software piracy to take down nonprofit organizations in 12 countries, including Russia and China.
In these tightly controlled countries, many use software piracy inquiries to invade and take down these nonprofit organizations which may not fully agree with the government. Microsofts plan is to give free licenses to these organizations so that legally, the governments will have no reason to interfere and take advantage of anti-piracy laws.
Usually the victim organizations happen to be in former Soviet republics and Russia, with the later being more common in this practice. In China not many cases of this abuse have occurred, but Microsoft wants to protect whomever they can.
Nonprofit organizations would be given software licenses, completely free, for software they already posses. This would change their pirated copies into legal copies and prevent governments from stepping in and disbanding the organization based purely on piracy claims. Microsoft already provides copies of free software to some nonprofit groups, but it appears this policy is not well known and therefore not used as much as it could be.
When several raids occurred last month, Microsoft made matters worse when their own counsel failed to clarify anti-piracy laws. Microsoft apologized and vowed to help protect nonprofit organizations instead of aiding in these types of take downs. Microsoft never wanted to inadvertantly make matters worse for these organizations, and thus the idea to give free licenses to organizations was created. Doing so will make it tougher for controlling governments to exploit laws to take down opposing organizations.