Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Microsoft Offers Blanket Software Licenses in Response to Russian Security Crackdown

Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, announced on Monday that the company would provide automatic blanket software licenses to advocacy groups and media outlets in Russia. The announcement followed concerns that Russian security forces were attempting to muzzle dissent in the country by confiscating computers from these groups under the guise that they were investigating piracy of Microsoft's intellectual property. In a post on Microsoft’s blog, Mr. Smith explained that “[w]e want to be clear that we unequivocally abhor any attempt to leverage intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy or pursue improper personal gain.” Microsoft indicated that its new blanket software policy would apply in other countries, as well, but did not immediately name which ones.


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