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Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the amazing-coincidence dept.

Government 175

reporter writes "According to a report recently filed by the Washington Post, the Kremlin has finally begun to crackdown on software piracy ... with a twist. The Russian state agency is targetting political enemies with claims of piracy, including independent news media, political parties, and private advocacy groups. In particular, 'the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of the last outposts of critical journalism in Russia, suspended publication of its regional edition in the southern city of Samara on Monday after prosecutors opened a criminal case against its editor, alleging that his publication used unlicensed software.'" This doesn't even take into account our recent discussion of the Kremlin's grip on internet access in that country.

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SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21353507)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
goatse for you to see here. please goatse along. [goatse.ch]

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21353925)

Let's get this chuwa rolling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ7tBIYVEE0 [youtube.com]

Oh no!!! (2, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353509)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.
They've already struck /. too!

great (3, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353525)

It'll just drive more people to switch to Linux.

Re:great (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353621)

If you think OSes really matter, get a clue.

The way they deal with things: Tell us what you were doing, or you're going to a Siberian gulag. Or we'll kill you.

Re:great (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353959)

In this case, I don't think it mattered what OS was being used, they'd find something to charge him with.

Re:great (3, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354123)

You're still a bit better off if they had to fabricate a charge than if you were really guilty of something as easy and obvious to demonstrate as software piracy. Looking at it from another angle, this is one of the reasons why it's socially detrimental to have poorly enforced laws against common activities (whether it be piracy, drug possession, low speed limits, whatever) - it gives abusive authorities the ability to selectively enforce those laws against people they don't like for some reason.

Re:great (1, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354715)

Looks like the socialists are using the capitalists own weapons against them.

Cool.

If the opposition in Russia was actually opposing an oppresive regime, I might be more concerned.

Being that they're a bunch of crackpots funded by foreign interests who would like nothing better than to use these very same oppressive laws against the population of Russia for private gain, I'm actually rather amused.

Go Putin!

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355237)

I think you meant to say "Go Putain!"

Re:great (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354189)

Actually they'd probably charge the company without realising they used Linux then they'd be screwed in court.

Re:great (4, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355171)

You think these charges would go to court?

These charges are to put the dissenters out of business. I suppose that's better than being assassinated, but you've got to realize that most of the world does not operate the way the Western World does. If you criticize most governments, you die. We take for granted that we can say what we want about the people in charge. In reality, most people get killed. That makes martyrs, so the best bet is to discredit those who oppose you first. "Yeah, they were totally unscrupulous. Look at all the pirated software they're using. You can't believe a thing these guys say."

Look at Tienanmen Square - the Chinese murdered thousands of protesters, and now it's illegal to even mention it. I know, they aren't Russian. All the Russians do is inject you with plutonium, set off car bombs, and steal your computers. That's if you're a reporter!

The US may suck sometimes, but at least you've got a shot at a trial. Gitmo notwithstanding, of course, but imagine if reporting on Gitmo got you sent there for life.

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354851)

they'd find something to charge him with
Absolutely true. Sometimes tax auditors flat out tell you that they have to find something, or they, personally, will be in trouble and you will not like the results. I imagine, other government auditors work similarly.

Uuubunnntoooooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354005)

Ubuntu is my lover

Ubuntu is my lover... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354063)

Ubuntu is my friend,
Free software lasts forever,
the friendship never ends!

Spice girls are awesome! Posting as AC obviously

Re:great (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354203)

What makes you think they were not using Linux? In a totalitarian state you are guilty because you were accused.

Re:great (1)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354553)

Not really. As laws don't really work in Russia, they may confiscate servers with false suspicion of piracy and then return them (of course) but down time is too expensive to afford, so people just give bribes or shut down. And installing Linux doesn't protect you. There is anecdotal evidence the cops said "There is no 'My computer' icon on your desktop, so the software is pirated" and confiscated the computer. And yes, your guess is right, they had Linux with KDE on that box.

Re:great (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354781)

Not really. As laws don't really work in Russia, they may confiscate servers with false suspicion of piracy and then return them (of course) but down time is too expensive to afford, so people just give bribes or shut down.

How is that different than America?

There is anecdotal evidence the cops said "There is no 'My computer' icon on your desktop, so the software is pirated" and confiscated the computer. And yes, your guess is right, they had Linux with KDE on that box.

Obviously if there's no "My computer" icon, it's not "your computer". ;P

Re:great (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355029)

Not really. As laws don't really work in Russia, they may confiscate servers with false suspicion of piracy and then return them (of course) but down time is too expensive to afford, so people just give bribes or shut down.

How is that different than America?


That's a very good point: it's no different from America at all.

Of course, did anyone ever say that America was a country where people had freedom, and the laws actually worked? Any such person is a liar or an idiot.

Anybody surprised? (4, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353549)

Ever since Gorbachev helped end the Cold War (and the USSR), the Russians have tried to fill a void left by that power vacuum.

Unfortunately, many ex-KGB people are out there vying for power towards the "good old days". Turns out that someone is Putin right now. Power and threat of assassination should be enough to shut up critics.. or eat a dust-grain of Po.

Could the Russians have a great state? Absolutely... but not with the KGB still distributively in power.

Ad absurdum "In Soviet Rusia jokes"... because thats where they're headed back to.

Re:Anybody surprised? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21353599)

Turns out that someone is Putin right now.

Yesterday, nobody was Putin. Tomorrow, someone else will be Putin ;)

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355357)

Such is the great cycle of Putin

Re:Anybody surprised? (-1, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353771)

Could the Russians have a great state? Absolutely... but not with the KGB still distributively in power.
Hmph. Does any of this sound the least bit familiar? The state spying on citizens, elected (and other government) officials using the power of the state against their political enemies?

Maybe I've heard this happening in other countries. Like, oh, say one on the other side of the Atlantic.

Re:Anybody surprised? (0)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353987)

Oh please. Save the anti-US rhetoric.

Yes, our system sucks. It could be a lot better. However, we at least have our freedom to do mostly what we please. We can cross state borders easily, we can enter commerce easily, we can work for ourselves easily. We can also go to the anti-Bush rally or anti-War rally and not be shot at.

And our president(s) doesn't poison political enemies. Err..Ahmadinejad is still alive spouting anti-holocaust garbage.

Re:Anybody surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354131)

Umm. I don't usually see foreign leaders called political enemies. Political enemies are the guys/gals with whom he is competing for power inside the American political system. His political enemies would be McCain, Kerry, Clinton, Kennedy, the ACLU, MoveOn.org etc...

Re:Anybody surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354843)

> We can cross state borders easily

Cross to Cuba for me please?

Re:Anybody surprised? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355117)

Your president supports extrajudicial killings (among other things), though, and while you can demonstrate if you want to, you just might be locked up in a "free speech zone" if you do.

Yeah, the USA are a better place to live than Russia. But you're further from perfect than even you might realise.

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355373)

We can also go to the anti-Bush rally or anti-War rally and not be shot at.
Really? You sure about that [slashdot.org] ?

BTW--I'm an American.

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355409)

Correct link [portlandmercury.com] . My bad

Re:Anybody surprised? (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354055)

And guess what, on this side of the Atlantic, you don't risk government persecution if you call a spade a spade.

This attempt to make the US sound like Putinocracy or Communist China is absurd, and worse, bullshit. There are abuses, there are always abuses, but at the end of the day, where would you rather be right at this moment in time; Moscow or Detroit?

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354569)

Moscow or Detroit?

Detroit? DETROIT?! You choose the American city with the climate the most similar to Moscow and the economy most similar to Siberia, or wherever the hell the Soviet Union tried manufacturing. Of those two options, I'll take Seattle.

Re:Anybody surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354581)

ummm...

How are the girls in Detroit?

Re:Anybody surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354707)

There are abuses, there are always abuses, but at the end of the day, where would you rather be right at this moment in time; Moscow or Detroit?
Frankly, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

Re:Anybody surprised? (2, Funny)

Chuckstar (799005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354727)

Have you ever been to Detroit? I'd pick Moscow.

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355111)

Like, oh, say one on the other side of the Atlantic.
They are shutting "opposition" newspapers down where? Canada? Because they aren't doing it in the US. In fact, the government in the US is moving towards forbidding a single entity from owning too many media assets - that is sort of the opposite of what they would be doing if they were trying to control the media.

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355287)

Uh, mods and everyone else: I am NOT trolling. I'm an American.

Re:Anybody surprised? (4, Interesting)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353775)

Two high level defectors in the 1980s Anatoliy Golitsyn (Author of "The Perestroika Deception) and Jan Sejna (Author of "We Will Bury You") have written books and tried to tell the west that Perestroika was not genuine reform, but just a strategic retreat planned by the KGB (now GRU) that would help the Soviets catch up to the west technologically and economically after which they would return back to dictatorship and imperialism.

Re:Anybody surprised? (2, Funny)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353823)

Was massive land loss part of their equation?

What is it now? 16 countries? And they're pissing them off at bat.

If anything they have the most to thank towards Global warming.. nobody wants Siberia. However, there is a treasure trove of minerals that can be extracted when the permafrost thaws.

Re:Anybody surprised? (2, Insightful)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354741)

Was massive land loss part of their equation?
Maybe, I believe that it's a well known fact that colonies and occupation cost a ship load of money. A country is much better off dominating economically than militarily.

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354873)

If anything they have the most to thank towards Global warming.. nobody wants Siberia. However, there is a treasure trove of minerals that can be extracted when the permafrost thaws.

One would imagine it being easier to mine and transport vast amounts of heavy minerals from solid ground than methane-spitting swamp, but maybe that's just me.

Re:Anybody surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21353937)

Got your tinfoil hat on too tight?

Re:Anybody surprised? (4, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354635)

but just a strategic retreat planned by the KGB (now GRU) that would help the Soviets catch up to the west technologically and economically after which they would return back to dictatorship and imperialism.

If this were true, which I doubt, then it came with a very high price - the permanent breakup of the USSR and the loss of 14 Soviet Republics (Republic no. 15 is Russia - there were 15 Republics in the USSR), some of which aren't interested at all in being vassals to Mother Russia - Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. I get the impression that Armenia and Azerbaijan are somewhat indifferent to Russia and the 5 "Stan" countries are interested in Russia only in so far as they can get something (ie. money) out of it. Only Belarus remains loyal to Mother Russia and got paid back earlier in the year by Mother Russia telling it that it better pay up what it owed on natural gas and oil that came from Russia or there would be some, ahem, "unpleasantness".

Re:Anybody surprised? (2, Insightful)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354917)

If this were true, which I doubt, then it came with a very high price - the permanent breakup of the USSR and the loss of 14 Soviet Republics (Republic no. 15 is Russia - there were 15 Republics in the USSR), some of which aren't interested at all in being vassals to Mother Russia.
Meh. The Russians annexed that land once, they probably think they can do it again.

Although, on second thought, I don't know why they'd even bother declaring a new USSR when they can just as easily control their puppet states through other means, like economic pressure (Russia now supplies a third of Europe's oil and natural gas), "diplomacy" (like the recently ratified withdrawal from the CFE treaty and other scare tactics), and covert means (the KGB always was good at bribing and blackmailing others into doing their bidding). And leaving those people "independent" helps reduce internal and international tensions so, if anything, I'd say breaking up the USSR was a net win - if this is indeed true.

Re:Anybody surprised? (2, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354955)

I doubt that the Perestroika was a planned retreat by the KGB. I do agree, however, that the KGB people are still smarting from what they saw as the loss of their position as one of the superpowers in the world. As is a large chunk of Russia. I believe that the Perestroika movement was genuine, but it ultimately didn't have enough support across a large enough swath of the population. The ex-KGB people though do have that support.

Russia is already a dictatorship (when was the last open election in Russia?) in all but name, and it's certainly working on the imperialism part. Anybody who's treating Russia as a friend or a partner will be in for a rude awakening. EU, I'm looking at you.

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353783)

Ad absurdum "In Soviet Rusia jokes"... because thats where they're headed back to.
Don't you mean "In Putinist Russia ... " ?

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353899)

No, they're the same thing.

Really, the whole Communism thing never really took hold there. If it did, there would have been no real "leader" to begin with. Their whole country was based yet on another monarch with absolute power. They just set forth communism for non-governmental workers. The poor share all their money (which = poor).

Re:Anybody surprised? (1)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354691)

No difference. The rulers are all the same, they just changed coats. Yesterday they were communists today they are democrats, but the laws and the practices stay the same.

Re:Anybody surprised? (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354677)

Actually, it's not just the ex-KGB people who are pining for the "good old days". It's a large chunk of Russia. Yes, there is a significant (even if badly beat up) opposition. However, there is a much larger contingent of ardent Putin supporters. His 80% approval rating is probably inflated, but his real numbers aren't all that far off.

It's been said that the prerequisite for Democracy is a strong middle-class. Guess what - Russia went straight from Feudalism with a complete lack of middle-class to Communism, with its similar lack of a strong middle-class. This means that the political tradition in Russia is one of central strong men (and one woman) who have near absolute power over everything. I don't see that changing anytime soon - the Enlightenment period is long past, and the current global atmosphere does not support its revival.

Uhh...duh... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21353563)

why do you think Shrub&Co. really want wholesale snooping on Americans?

Kind of funny (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353581)

It's pretty funny that they're using this particular excuse to persecute political opposition. So I guess that's what how far they've come in the last 50 years - from malicious prosecution under the guise of national security, to malicious prosecution under the guise of protection against piracy.

Well... at least they're not being cliché.

Re:Kind of funny (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355447)

Actually, what they have learned is to turn the West's (particularly the US) propaganda machine against itself. Quite brilliant, I have to admit. Anybody who underestimates Putin with respect to his goals and his determination is a fool (this means you, Shrubby).

Re:Kind of funny (4, Funny)

adminstring (608310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355935)

It seems that you have tried to use the character &#233, otherwise known as "Freedom E." Freedom E has been blocked by the national censorship proxy server in order to protect children from terrorists. If you persist in attempting to use this character, you will be sent to Guantanamo for re-education regarding which Extended ASCII characters conform to the President's English, namely &#153, &#169, &#174, and, especially important during the holiday season, &#134. Good day :-).

In Soviet Russia.. (5, Funny)

KazerSoza (727306) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353585)

In Soviet Russia the software pirates you!

Re:In Soviet Russia.. (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353751)

What happens there shall become a handbook for what happens here.

In Amerika, property owns YOU!

In Soviet Russia... (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353611)

...political pirates pwn j00. Yarrr!!!!!

Smart (4, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353631)

As pointed out in the article, they're killing two birds with one stone. They get to appear more pro-active against piracy after all the requests from Western governments to try to stop piracy, and they get to silence critics. Criticism from Western governments could be met with appeals for funding if they want them to come up with a better way to stop piracy. Speaking of money, there might be some money changing hands from major software vendors to support anti-piracy measures.

Re:Smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354237)

/sigh

I never wonder why communism turns into dictatorship - there are just too many ways for greedy/corrupt bastards to justify dominating the reality of the people and, as Noam Chompsky said so long ago, "manufacturing their consent". At least in democratic nations our reality is dominated by a whole swath of idiots, elected by another plethora of idiots who don't pay enough attention to whom they are voting for (playing the "party politics game", rather than electing the local candidates they may actually give a damn - as intended by our political systems...). Anyhow, at least in North America it's our own fault, but the Russians never really had a chance to free themselves as we did and now, well, we get to hear about stories like this. Yay.

Re:Smart (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354345)

Unfortunately selective enforcement is nefarious because it's so hard to prove. Just as a black person here in the US.

Re:Smart (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355091)

Headline tommorrow "Notorious Software Pirate Benazir Bhutto Arrested in Pakistan."

Denial of Service by Terms of Service (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353677)

When I was working on a MMORPG years ago, this sort of behavior was a worry. It was a much smaller, less consequential worry, but it was there. Player A would call the company, and whine to mommy that Player B was breaking the rules. We had to be careful about policies so we didn't just disable Player B prematurely during the investigation, or it would become a new dynamic in the game. Want to invade a guild hall? Make sure their best players are disabled due to investigations.

It didn't catch on, but at the time I called this a DOS by TOS: a denial of service by (ab)using the terms of service; the terms of service can be a weapon if the environment is competitive enough.

Re:Denial of Service by Terms of Service (1, Flamebait)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353773)

surely that only works once though? player A can only cry wolf once before he loses credibility?
personally, I'm so sick of software piracy that I don't really care if it represents infighting in the russian corporate elite. as long as they do something about the blatmnt software piracy from that country. many big companies i know who sell online entirely blacklist the country by IP because of the extent of fraud and piracy from there.

Re:Denial of Service by Terms of Service (3, Interesting)

evann (667628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354053)

Within the ranks of AOL staff, accounts which had overhead abilities could suspend other accounts. These suspended accounts then have to call AOL and talk about the infraction, hear the warning or whatever, and then they get the account back.

Phishing and trojans back in the days I am talking about..(95-2000? maybe they have the same setup) were pretty easy to pull off. You could easily get the password for one of these accounts and go ahead and start suspending many other accounts. There was even a hierarchy of these accounts, some had more banning power than others (and could terminate other overhead accounts). The phrase used when one person terminated another was called a TOS.

Two things came of all this, the AO-underworld would start killing off eachother's accounts in mass. You can't call AOL to get an account reactivated which you created from phished credit cards. The second, a lot of people claiming they didn't break the TOS when they got TOS'd, and AOL laxing it's punishments.

Player A just uses multiple accounts to complain. Player B eventually gets terminated. OR the staff will have to start letting people off the hook because they just don't know the truth.

it sure doesn't help all these soviet jokes... (3, Funny)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353753)

The suggestive powers of all the thousands of "in soviet russia" jokes are now taking their toll. Now see what you've done, Slashdot? You've brought back the Iron Curtain! All hilarity aside, this is not a good trend at all. It started good in the 90's, but I'm not like this trend

Re:it sure doesn't help all these soviet jokes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355421)

In Soviet Russia, this trend doesn't like you!

In Russia... (0)

He-Ja (1187145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353841)

In Russia there always is a twist... face the facts

Article is a flamebait. (5, Informative)

padonak (687721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353855)

At the risk of gaining a few more /. "freaks", I have to point out that this post is just on of the many recent submissions by reporter [slashdot.org] , most of which are simply anti-russian FUD.
He even expressed [slashdot.org] his desire to have a dedicated anti-russian section here.
While bashing a Cold War enemy is certainly fun, I don't see much "news for nerds" here. Keep /. politics focused on U.S., please.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354103)

The piracy angle would make this /.-worthy whatever country it was.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354133)

Why do you think that the Washington Post article is FUD?
And why do I find it amusing that you are attempting to silence someone who is concerned about people being silenced?

Re:Article is a flamebait. (1)

padonak (687721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354557)

Why do you think that the Washington Post article is FUD?
Because WP don't actually read russian news, they just repeat what the "human rights groups" tell them. Never mind the fact that every month the police confiscates thousands of CDs on the streets, when they target the "free press", then they report it.

And why do I find it amusing that you are attempting to silence someone who is concerned about people being silenced?
I don't know why do you (an AC) find it amusing. The guy who uses the terms "Russian fascism", "Russian beast", etc. is not concerned about anything, he just spreads the Red Scare again.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354137)

I believe you are correct. Anti-Russian FUD is the primary staple of Western journalism on Russian issues. That many of these so-called "free press" establishments were themselves highly anti-Russian (for those of you not familiar: that means against Russians, not against Russian government), in some instances blatantly fascistic, and were being funded through suspicious sources (read: large donations from outside the country by unidentified sources) none of these factors seem to matter. What matters is that the Evil Russian Government (tm) is doing "something". Again.

To reiterate: this is more anti-Russian FUD. Move along.

MOD UP (1)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354267)

I think this is decent information that /. deserves to see, if for no other reason then it's pertinent to submitter's motivation.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (5, Insightful)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354275)

While bashing a Cold War enemy is certainly fun, I don't see much "news for nerds" here. Keep /. politics focused on U.S., please.
Wait, are you against FUD in general, or are you against FUD only when it applies to topics related to Russia? We cannot simply replace one "FUD" with another. (Emphasis placed as I am not claiming that the topic is FUD.)

The topic of the submission was "Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech". Again, emphasis mine. If we get rid of this article on the grounds that it is not news-for-nerds, then we might as well dismiss every article ever posted on /. that is related to the RIAA, MPAA, P2P, and File sharing.

Also, Slashdot has a worldwide readership. It would be a folly to filter out every topic that does not relate to the U.S. Regardless how how you may feel about the foreign news, worldwide political events will affect people in the States as much as anywhere else. For instance, there are plenty of foreign companies that do business in Russia. If any one of them ever use their position as a pulpit to disagree with the Kremlin, then they too may get a knock at the door for software piracy.

Lastly, you claim this article is FUD, as you say everything Reporter [slashdot.org] posts is. I don't see anywhere in your post your rebuttals or WHY you claim that it is FUD. I even read the original Washington Post article that this post linked to, and it seems pretty clear that Russia is only selectively enforcing copyright laws against organizations that have spoken out against the government.

That's not anti-Russian FUD, it's reality! Please explain to us why it is FUD. And saying "Because it is anti-Russian" doesn't cut it.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (2, Informative)

padonak (687721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355019)

Wait, are you against FUD in general, or are you against FUD only when it applies to topics related to Russia?
I'm against FUD in general. I've hit the "200 friends/foes" limit because of this.

The topic of the submission was "Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech".
Every couple of weeks there are articles in russian press about police raids and confiscations of counterfeit CDs. I don't see any of these news here on /. But when the "free press" (which BTW is just as corrupt and self-involved as the ones they bash) is concerned, suddenly there's an article in WP and a helpful submission of our own "reporter".

If any one of them ever use their position as a pulpit to disagree with the Kremlin, then they too may get a knock at the door for software piracy.
No, they'll first get a visit from the Tax Police, you don't know much about business there.

Russia is only selectively enforcing copyright laws against organizations that have spoken out against the government
Does the name "allofmp3.com" ring a bell? There are dosens of music sites and online libraries (with OCRed books) that were closed in the last five years, yet WP and this reporter guy don't talk much about it.

That's not anti-Russian FUD, it's reality! Please explain to us why it is FUD. And saying "Because it is anti-Russian" doesn't cut it.
I chose to call a selective representation of reality "FUD". Just like most of us call "Get The Facts" site reports about Windows vs. Linux performance. The results of the benchmarks were real, it's the test conditions that were ...hmmm... uneven.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (1)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355299)

First of all, thanks for the response.

The topic of the submission was "Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech".
Every couple of weeks there are articles in russian press about police raids and confiscations of counterfeit CDs. I don't see any of these news here on /. But when the "free press" (which BTW is just as corrupt and self-involved as the ones they bash) is concerned, suddenly there's an article in WP and a helpful submission of our own "reporter".


I'm not disagreeing with your point of view as you have every right to it as much as Reporter does. But that's all I was asking for - just an example as to why you felt that this article was FUD. And since you mentioned that other confiscations exist, I found a link that also makes the claim that thousands upon thousands of pirated materials are confiscated.

Millions of bootleg tapes, CDs and DVDs are being sold across Russia [pravda.ru]

Q: The authorities regularly report on yet another successful operation against the illegal manufacture and sale of audio and video materials. About 21 thousand tapes and videodisks were confiscated late January in St. Petersburg. Still, the pirates play their game. Can you tell us why the situation remains unchanged?

A: As far as I am concerned, the authorities talk a lot, but do too little. The police can shut down a wholesale warehouse stacked with illicit products but it is likely to be back in business one day after. Provided that payoffs are paid on time. You can even get back two-thirds of your stuff that was confiscated if you pay them an extra. Various police departments are supposed to combat the sale of pirated CDs and DVDs in Veliky Novgorod. Every time they would launch their "surprise" raids on the retail market, as a rule they do it once a year at the end of summer, we would be fully prepared to see them. A maximum fee for selling counterfeit products at retail is 4,000 rubles. My personal experience shows that the amount of fee can be subject to negotiation. Your punishment can be reduced to a warning if you are smart enough to offer some latest flick to an inspector you are dealing with.


Anyway...

I chose to call a selective representation of reality "FUD". Just like most of us call "Get The Facts" site reports about Windows vs. Linux performance. The results of the benchmarks were real, it's the test conditions that were ...hmmm... uneven.
Okay, putting it in this light, I cannot fault your reasoning. To be fair, the Washington Post article did make a slight reference that crackdowns are happening everywhere:

Police have raided businesses that play no political role, but without the sustained effort directed toward groups that are critical of the Kremlin.

"It's cynical, but it's also very difficult for us to say anything," said one Western observer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the subject.


I still feel that the Russian government is using the piracy angle to stifle critics. It almost seems as if local merchants that sell pirated materials can get away with it much easier than those that run organizations that criticize the government. Still, while my feelings will differ with yours in this topic, I do appreciate your explanation as to why you felt it is FUD. It helps me understand a different angle that, as you point out, the Washington Post article did not properly explain.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354499)

FUD? Hahaha please! Fear maybe, Uncertainty no way, Doubt no how. This is Russia we're talking about. And I can't believe that in providing a link to reporter's past comment you dwell on his saying there's enough bad stuff going on in Russia to warrant a separate news section for it, disregarding the focus of the comment which was to tell of a specific human rights violation the Russian government was guilty of.

Basically you are trolling.

Re:Article is a flamebait. (1)

padonak (687721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354695)

Ha.
This is Russia we're talking about.
So does this automatically gives justification to putting bullshit on the front page?
disregarding the focus of the comment which was to tell of a specific human rights violation the Russian government was guilty of
It seems that EVERYTHING the guy posts is related to "human rights violations" in Russia. I'm just pointing out that he floods the site with political news, part of which may be even true (but again, we only know about this from Washington Post), but are still irrelevant.
Trolling? Ok, I don't have much experience with it, but everybody has to start sometime :)

Re:Article is a flamebait. (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355013)

Well for starters folks have already replied to you pointing out that the Washington Post article *is* relevant to Slashdot since it regards software piracy. And the link you provided was to a comment, and those can be as irrelevant as anyone wishes. If they're too irrelevant, they get modded "Offtopic" anyway so you don't have to worry about it.

As for "putting bullshit on the front page," I suppose you can take that up with the Washington Post, heh. Either it's true or it's not, and the theme is software piracy so it's a legit topic for Slashdot.

If you want more stories you don't consider bullshit, then submit some. As it is you can find plenty of folks who appreciate any given submission and plenty who don't.

Wonder when they'll start to bait-and-switch (1)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353955)

1) Put together an organization that sells branded software for cheap
2) Record customer data in the invoice
3) Sell data to government
4) Close up shop
5) Government prosecutes customer for piracy
6) Customer uses invoice as evidence
7) Prosecution cites evidence that said organization does not exist
8) Customer goes to jail due to lack of evidence on their part
9) Profit!

Just don't try it on the Mafia.

yawn... (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21353981)

communist leaders use random current events to purge enemies-of-the-state. really? i am sure stalin is turning over in his grave.

Re:yawn... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355345)

You do realize that Russia is a federation [cia.gov] , with the dominant party [russiaprofile.org] being fairly progressive, judging from its homepage.

However, this doesn't change the fact that Putin is an autocratic little bastard with lots of support by the general population. This is not a return to Stalinist ideology. This is a return to good old-fashioned tsarist imperialism and global power.

In this topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21353993)

...In Soviet Russia jokes write themselves.

Stop picking on Russia (3, Funny)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354111)

They opposed the Iraq War to maintain their grip on the regional oil market, fund North Korea's nukes, fund Iran's nukes... They are against George Bush. How can Russian government be in the wrong!?

In Soviet Russia... (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354193)

Software Pirates YOU!

When you get potatoes make vodka (2, Interesting)

metoc (224422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354209)

So when the USA starts using vague negative labels like pirates or terrorists, it is easy for foreign government to use them.

Standard political tactics, label people you don't like with them too.

FirsT post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354451)

to die. I wiil jam Politics openly. we get the8e with Beyond the scope of

More Liberal Delusion (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21354537)

"Ever since Gorbachev helped end the Cold War (and the USSR), the Russians have tried to fill a void left by that power vacuum."

        Gorby helped end the cold war, what? Are you on crack?

This is exactly the revisionist liberalism that is pervasive today, crack smoking liberal delusion depicting the soviets or russians, whatever they are calling themselves today as anything but adversarial.

      2 words for you liberal geek dopes, RONALD REAGAN

Re:More Liberal Delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355459)

Gorbachev had in his power to end the cold war with a bang, had he wanted to. He was not the prime mover of the event, but he certainly did take a constructive role in the peaceful end of the cold war, which could reasonably be characterized as "helping" the process.

Re:More Liberal Delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355607)

I think that's why quoted post wrote "helped" and not "caused". But hey, don't let something like "what they actually said" get in the way of your knee-jerk neo-con screed.

Re:More Liberal Delusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355651)

Please choose either 'crack smokers' or 'geeks', the two are mutually exclusive.

open source preferred (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354587)

This has been mentioned in the past by Patrick Ball (see second page) [aaas.org] and others as an excuse for human rights violations and a need for human rights agencies or pretty much anyone to move to open source. They'll find some other excuse, sure, but hopefully every little bit of additional freedom helps.

Every Federal Law is an enemy of freedom (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354609)

Let the events in Russia be a lesson to those left wingers that would have the federal government impose socialism, and to those right wingers who would have the federal government impose religion.

Every federal law has to be viewed as a potential for enslavement, another excuse for a would be dictator to trounce freedom. Those who are afraid of the government while Bush is in office, or if Hillary or Obama were elected, need to really ask, why do we have to have a government that -anyone- is afraid of.

The best federal government is the one where it doesn't matter which political party runs it.

Mod parent up. (1)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354989)

Seriously. This line alone deserves it:

The best federal government is the one where it doesn't matter which political party runs it.

Re:Every Federal Law is an enemy of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355791)

The one that allows men to have young virgin wives of childbearing age?

What worries me even more.... (2, Insightful)

Korveck (1145695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354723)

...is that most Russians don't seem to care that their freedoms and rights are eroded away by Putin, as long as Motherland Russia's economy is looking strong.

Whats propaganda and whats true? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354893)

These days its very hard to know if even western media tells the truth. I really do not swallow things just because its in western media any more than i trust for your favourite state controlled press. So much of what has been reported by western media in later years have been refuted a bit later as just plain lies. The US govt seems hellbent on having as many enemies as possible and one way of ensuring that is to paint any adversery or competing country as evil. The reason they want enemies, or more exactly perceived enemies is for control and a blank check to do whatever to "protect" its citizens. The free western media is just a pawn in a game just as media in other countries, the difference is just in how the propaganda is inserted and controlled.

US Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech (1, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21354901)

Books, music and movies play a huge role in defining popular culture and currently US government and big companies have a virtual monopoly on shaping it. Some day Michael Moore's film studio will receive a call from Homeland security office to remove his films from circulation as they help terrorists and communists by undermining war effort and encouraging americans to visit Cuba. With all popular formats - DVD, HD, digital downloads - now covered by DRM, there will be no legal way for supporters to continue spreading the message. Activists will be jailed for breaking DMCA to spread popular "free speech" and public will be assured that all our freedoms are safe. It's only that pretty much any speech can be considered a derivative work of something in popular culture and as such belongs to some big company. Oh yes, and all the land is privately owned as well and as such the owners can impose restrictions on the speech within. It's too bad your homeowner's association has a policy against controversial public speech on the premises.

free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21355149)

since when is there free speech in russia? free speech isn't a universal right... so it's kind of a dumb argument.

Microsoft Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech (1)

AppleTwoGuru (830505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355265)

reporter writes: "According to a report recently filed by the Washington Post, Microsoft has finally begun to crackdown on software piracy ... with a twist. The Microsoft corporation is targeting political enemies with claims of piracy, including independent news media, political parties, and private advocacy groups. In particular, 'the newspaper the Wall Street Journal, one of the last outposts of critical journalism in the U.S.A., suspended publication of its regional edition in the Eastern city of New York on Monday after prosecutors opened a criminal case against its editor, alleging that his publication used unlicensed software (Open Office and the GIMP on Linux)'"

Remember the U.S. Federal Prosecutor Firings? (1)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355505)

U.S. Federal Prosecutors serve "at the pleasure of the President". If he thinks that the prosecutors aren't investigating the opposition aggressively enough, he can fire them and appoint replacements who will. And it's all legal.

I'm not saying that two wrongs make a right, but those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Y'all might want to take out a 0 point refi and upgrade to at least a wood frame... :)

In Soviet Russia... (1)

uselessengineer (1172275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355635)

In Soviet Russia, Software Pirates You

Free Speech? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21355827)

This is Russia we are speaking about here, i dont believe this is a right that they currently have.
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