The last week the “K” department of the Nizhny Novgorod GUVD dealing with IT crimes started an active campaign against unlicensed computer software users.
It is no secret that most of the existing organizations in Russia, either public or NGOs, continue to use pirate copies of software. It is also well known that this is a violation of copyright and it is penalized by criminal and administrative laws of Russia. Within the last few days office equipment of several human rights NGOs and the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper was arrested because unlicensed software was installed on it. However, the list of the organizations subject to the check of the “K” department is somewhat one-sided and incorporates only activists of the “third sector”, what arouses certain suspicions. It seems that representatives of the Nizhny Novgorod GUVD deem human rights activists and journalists as the main users of pirate software. Facts are facts – those organizations indeed used unlicensed programs – however, we have every reason to believe that they aren’t the biggest violators of Microsoft copyright and patent laws. The damage, inflicted by the human rights NGOs who have 5 to 7 computers in an office is, of course, great and they should feel ashamed for what they’ve done. The Committee Against Torture fully supports the GUVD in its combat for observing copyright and believes that it can be helpful to establish more serious violators in this sphere. We have reasonable grounds that pirate software is highly popular among law enforcement, fiscal and state authorities. It this connection we strongly recommend officers of the “K” department to carry out similar checks in departments of the GUVD, Federal Tax Service (FNS), Federal Security Service (FSB), Prosecution service and other authorities. Their buildings are stuck with computer equipment and the “haul” could be more impressive. Besides, they would not need to spend money of taxpayers on the search of human rights offices scattered in the basements and attics of the city. All they’ll need to do is to leave their office and call on the neighboring room… and go on that way left to right and top to the bottom.
But this is, of course, the point if their goal is to identify the biggest and the most flagrant violators of copyright.
Chairman of the INGO Committee Against Torture,
Member of the Public Council under the authority of the Nizhny Novgorod GUVD