Source AP ©

Russian court finds school principal guilty of installing pirated Microsoft software

A Russian court on Monday found the director of a village school guilty of installing bootleg Microsoft software on computers used in classes and ordered him to pay a fine of 5,000 rubles (about US$195; EURO 145).

The trial of Alexander Ponosov, who was charged with violating intellectual property rights by installing pirated versions of the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office software, has attracted wide attention, with Russian media reports casting it as one modest man's fight against a mighty corporation.

Microsoft, however, has repeatedly said it has nothing to do with the charges, which were brought by Russian prosecutors in the Ural Mountain region where Ponosov's school is located.

"He knew (he was violating law) and illegally used these programs in computer classes," prosecutor Natalya Kudoyarova said in televised remarks.

Ponosov has maintained his innocence, saying that the computers at the school came with the software already installed. He could not immediately be reached for comment, but the RIA-Novosti news agency cited his lawyer, Vladimir Bobrovsky, as saying he would appeal.

Ponosov was found guilty of causing 266,000 rubles (US$10,000; EURO7,000) in damage to the company, RIA-Novosti quoted judge Valentina Tiunova as saying. The 5,000-ruble fine is the equivalent to over half Ponosov's monthly wage of US$360 (EURO266).

In February, the court in the Vereshchaginsky district of the Perm region threw out the case, saying Ponosov's actions were "insignificant" and presented no danger to society. Both Ponosov and prosecutors vowed to appeal in hopes of forcing a clear decision, with Ponosov saying he wanted a full acquittal.

In March, the regional court ordered Ponosov to stand trial a second time.

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