International Journalist Group Asks Microsoft to Help Independent Media in Russia

Windows Vista logo (c) MicrosoftOn February 8th, the International Federation of Journalists (IJF) appealed to Microsoft Corporation to negotiate with Russian journalists, and resolve questions about the use of unlicensed software.

In a press-release, the organization, which represents over 600,000 journalists worldwide, described a rising “blitz” of intellectual property lawsuits levied by the Russian government against independent media outlets.

“Under the pretence of concern over piracy issues the government is waging a new campaign to silence its media critics,” said Aidan White, the IFJ General Secretary.

The Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) has already entered talks with Microsoft, with the aims of either providing free software licenses to the poorest Russian media, or providing the programs at a discount.

The IJF has written to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s Chief Executive, asking the company to quickly review the proposal made by RUJ, and to put it into effect as soon as possible. Such a decision would be a win-win situation for Microsoft, according to the press-release.

The RUJ estimates that some 90% of Russian mass-media use pirated software, and that Microsoft loses some $150 million per year due to piracy. Providing 3500 of Russia’s poorest mass-media with free software licenses for a total of 35,000 computers, and arranging a three-year discount deal with other groups would help the company recover lost revenue.

Further Reading:

Computers Seized from Independent Newspaper in Togliatti

Silence in Samara

Piracy Charges to Pressure Critics