Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Frivolous Litigation

It's been a while since China launched a pointless international lawsuit. The last one was against Jack Cafferty and CNN. This time it's against Microsoft Corp.

It seems that Microsoft has decided to take the law into its own hands to fight piracy in China. For those who are unaware, there are millions of illegal copies of Windows and Microsoft programs throughout China (I think the previous teacher at my university installed a bootlegged copy of Windows on the office computer). The new weapon in this fight against piracy is the automatic update--that little process Windows uses to ensure your programs run without too many bugs. This update checks the copy of Windows for the authentication code, and, if none is found, will change the personal settings--for the most part simply changing the background to black.

A Chinese lawyer wants to charge Microsoft for hacking into people's computers and violating privacy--a criminal offense in China. He claims that it's OK to go after the manufacturers of pirated software, but not the users. Of courses, millions of computer users across China also have their panties in a bunch over the loss of customizable functions in Windows. Even with the loss of some functions, Microsoft has not completely inhibited the use of the illegal products.

The question that arises is whether or not knowledge of using an illegal copy is considered complicity in the crime of piracy.

With an ongoing economic crisis and looming business closures throughout the country, one has to wonder what effect this will have on foreign technology companies' investments in China.


Drofen said...

It's amazing the audacity of people in the wrong these days...

Nick said...

This lawsuit and the reactions of Chinese netizens are mindblowingly stupid on levels too numerous to comment on. grr