Russian court orders retrial of school principal accused of Microsoft piracy - 27 March, 2007 - News

A Russian court on Tuesday ordered a retrial of a school principal accused of installing pirated Microsoft software in school computers, court officials said. The case has been widely seen as a misguided attempt to crack down on software bootlegging.

The Perm regional court overturned a February ruling of a lower court to end the prosecution of Alexander Ponosov, said court spokesman Anatoly Sobolev. The lower court had said the case was insignificant.

The Tuesday ruling came in response to appeals by both the defendant and prosecution. Ponosov wants to be formally acquitted; the prosecution seeks his conviction.

Ponosov had been charged with violating intellectual property rights by installing bootleg versions of the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office software. He insisted that the computers came with the software already installed.

Microsoft said it had nothing to do with the charges, and that the company declined to file a civil action against the teacher last year. Industry experts consider Russia to be second only to China in bootlegging audio recordings, DVDs and software, reports AP.

President Vladimir Putin called the trial "utter nonsense," saying manufacturers of pirated goods should be targeted, not consumers.

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