It was “not the type of story that felt good to read.” That’s the assessment from Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, in his response to New York Times report that spotlighted the company’s role in raids carried out by the Russian government against dissenting advocacy groups, under the guise of searching for pirated software. We aim to reduce piracy and counterfeiting of software, and we aim to do this in a manner that respects fundamental human rights,” Smith writes.
“Piracy is a very real problem. It costs jobs and business growth and can cheat consumers who think they’re paying for genuine products. We know for a fact that the reduction of software piracy has breathed new life into Russia’s own software industry and has created new jobs in our industry, both at Russian software companies and for U.S. software exporters. But none of this should create a pretext for the inappropriate pursuit of NGOs, newspapers, or other participants in civil society. And we certainly don’t want to contribute to any such effort, even inadvertently.”