In an interesting turn of events, Microsoft has stated that it will issue a blanket software license to nonprofit groups and journalist groups outside the U.S. after the New York Times reported that Russian police have used software copyright raids to seize computers of activist groups. The new blanket license should remove software piracy as an excuse for “nefarious actions” by enforcement authorities, according to a legal representative for Microsoft. They will also set up a legal assistance program for NGOs in Russia.
The blanket license will be good until 2012, Microsoft also hopes to expand its software donation program to those who may not be aware of its existence (don’t get excited- it doesn’t exist in the U.S.!) This is a positive move by Microsoft, preventing the Russian government from conducting raids under false pretenses; they can no longer claim copyright enforcement.