While we may not see him playing a character opposite Jack Sparrow any time soon, Mikhail Gorbachev is doing his part to save a Russian teacher accused of piracy, Alexander Ponosov. The teacher, accused of using pirated software at his school, is seen by many Russians as the unfortunate sap who Microsoft has chosen to go after in order to set a precedent when it comes to piracy in the region.
Gorbachev asked Bill Gates himself to personally intervene in the case and show mercy to Mr. Ponosov, since he only meant to help his students. In a response Gates said that Microsoft did not initiate the prosecution and that due to the small scale of the event, criminal proceedings would not be necessary.
Russian prosecutors say Alexander Ponosov ran pirated software at school, violating intellectual property rights. In reply to Mr Gorbachev Microsoft said it did not initiate the prosecution and that the scale of the case did not warrant criminal proceedings. Mr Gorbachev's letter, on the website run by his charitable foundation, said "many people in Russia regard this scandalous case as trumped-up, launched on the initiative of Microsoft corporation to set a precedent". "We have great respect for the work of Microsoft's programmers... and are in no way casting doubt on the principle of punishment for intellectual property violations. "However, in this case we ask you to show mercy and withdraw your complaint against Alexander Ponosov," the letter read.