Russian MS Software Piracy Case Thrown Out

A highly publicized piracy case against a schoolteacher in Russia was dismissed on Thursday, with a Russian District Court saying the case against the man was "trivial."

Alexandar Ponosov's plight was high profile enough to move former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to step in and plead with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to intercede on behalf of the man, saying he did not know he was committing a crime.

However, Microsoft responded by saying that it had no intention of making a civil case against Ponosov, adding the Russian prosecutors office initiated the court case. Gorbachev later said he was satisfied with Microsoft's response.

Even Russian president Vladmir Putin disagreed with prosecutor's actions, noting that manufacturers of pirated discs should be targeted, and not consumer.

Ponosov claims that the computers he bought for the school he managed came with the pirated software already installed, but prosecutors argued that he had knowledge that the software was illegitimate.

The prosecutor had claimed that Ponosov caused up to 267,000 rubles ($10,000 USD) in damages. However, he instead asked for a 3,000 ruble fine, equivalent to $110 USD, in lieu of the standard prison term.

When asked for his reaction to the judgment by the Associated Press, Ponosov replied, "We're off to drink champagne now...Of course it was trivial."

Neither Microsoft nor the prosecutor involved in the case were available for comment.

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