Microsoft to issue blanket license to NGOs

The company takes steps to distance itself from Russian authorities reportedly using software raids to harass dissidents

By , IDG News Service |  Government

A blanket license for NGOs makes sense, said Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director at Public Knowledge, a digital rights group. If Russian authorities are using software raids as an excuse to harass dissident groups, Microsoft can take away that excuse by not pressing for copyright enforcement, he said.

Granting licenses to NGOs "would remove any cause of action," he said.

Software piracy cases are a convenient way for authorities to target dissidents, because all software comes from a copy, Siy said. "If you're just looking for a jurisdictional hook to abuse, it's so easy under copyright," he added.

The Times story points to the need for U.S. companies to look at a broad picture when dealing with international issues, Siy added. U.S. companies need to look for a balance between IP protection and competing issues, Siy said.

"It shows that the interests of the United States, as a country, need to be evaluated as whole, as we constantly push protection of IP (intellectual property) across the globe," he said.

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