OT: Russian Windows 2000 launched -- first by pirates

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Russian Windows 2000 launched -- first by pirates

WIRE:02/17/2000 14:03:00 ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vendors' stalls in Moscow streets and metro stations were filled with Windows 2000 discs on Thursday, the product's world launch date.

But then they have been for months, thanks to industrious pirates.

U.S. software maker Microsoft says Windows 2000 is a revolutionary version of its operating system fit for e-business and its new features include anti-piracy measures.

Moscow street vendors offering pirated test versions on CD-ROM for 80 roubles, or $2.75, instead of hundreds of dollars for a legitimate version, say customers are satisfied.

"No one has returned it," said Yura, whose booth is one of a half dozen clustered around the Kuznetsky Most metro station in central Moscow and openly trading all sorts of popular software.

Piracy is so ingrained in Russia, where ideas were long considered common property, that it is extremely difficult to get licensed copies of computer programs, audio CDs or foreign videos, since cheap illegal copies abound.

Microsoft's marketing manager for Russia, Gamid Kostoyev, said about 90 percent of software sold in Russia was pirated, stunting local industry, and that the state had not figured out how to enforce its new intellectual property laws.

"There are good laws," he said. "But unfortunately their nuances are unknown territory. The question is not lack of laws but lack of practice. The person enforcing them does not know what is legal."

Russia, he says, is losing a great chance to grow a new industry.


Computer pirates justify their work with a more basic logic. "I just want to say that no one would be able to buy this stuff if it costs hundreds of bucks," a second metro trader said.

Another, 25-year-old computer engineer Alexei, said he had been offering Windows 2000 for a month or two.

Factories in Russia, Ukraine, Poland and China get hold of test versions of new products and mass produce them.

Alexei said Moscow police ignored him: "Our laws are not complete. There are holes. There are very difficult problems with licensing."

Microsoft says Windows 2000 contains new anti-piracy measures, but most are intended to protect consumers from being duped and require their active cooperation.

Holograms covering an entire CD are hard to copy and their absence makes it easy to identify copies.

But Moscow consumers seem to know they are buying pirated software, and do not seem to mind.

That is clearest on weekends at the Gorbushka market in a city park on the edge of Moscow, a venue advertised throughout the city, where the main danger to pirates and customers is being trampled by hordes shuffling down muddy paths lined with booths selling copied discs and videos.

However, Alexei said there had been a recent slowing in sales. Prices have gone up -- discs sold much better a few months ago, when a CD now going for $2.75 fetched an even $2.

Copyright )2000 ABC News Internet Ventures.

-- Possible Impact (posim@hotmail.com), February 17, 2000


$2.75 is a realistic price for the value received...

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), February 17, 2000.

Windowski 2000; inwinted in Russia by little old lady in Leningrad. She was also to be inwinting telephone, telewision and Internet in hew spare time from working in Soviet Army Tank Foundry #5.

Soon we are to be hiring high-price Americanski lawyer from TV ads to sue Bill of Gates for patently infringement of her work.

Your pal in all things bad, Boris.

-- Boris Badanov (KGB@Kremlin.gov), February 17, 2000.

If they were REALLY industrious they would sell the pirated version online. The worldwide market would probably be big.

Immoral though,


-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), February 17, 2000.

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