Russia plans to make Western software piracy legal

Russia plans to make Western software piracy legal


Due to the war in Ukraine, many large companies have announced that they want to leave Russia because of the impossibility of being able to continue using certain software which is essential to them. However, the country has found a solution. Indeed, Russia could neither more nor less legalize the piracy of this software.

Solve Russia’s dependence on certain software

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is already having technological repercussions. Indeed, strong questions concern the current global shortage of chips as well as the next launch of the ExoMars mission. In an article published on March 4, 2022, the Russian daily Kommersant also explains that the Kremlin could authorize the pirating of software from Western companies. It must be said that the companies concerned (including Microsoft, Oracle and IBM) are following the major movement aimed at sanctioning Russia for its intervention in Ukraine.

Tech lawyer Kyle Mitchell spotted the Kommersant article and translated it on March 5. He believes that this is not an ego riposte from Russia against the sanctions. In reality, allowing piracy would solve the country’s dependence on this many software.

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It should be noted, however, that this type of measure already exists in Russian law. This law provides that in case of emergency, the government has the right to act beyond any agreement on copyright. The Kremlin is therefore considering adding the suspension of criminal liability for the fraudulent use of software manufactured in one of the countries currently sanctioning Russia.

Free software is also a concern

Kyle Mitchell, however, says that the scope of this type of decision could find its limits. Indeed, software is now available on a subscription basis (as-a-Service – SaaS), some of which is in the cloud. However, in the event that this service should be interrupted, access to the server will also no longer be available. Nevertheless, it may well be that the legalization of software piracy is a simple transition to the appearance of Russian software.

Besides, commercial software is not the only cause of concern in Russia. Indeed, free software could also be a problem. The free project platform GitHub (a subsidiary of Microsoft) has indicated that it does not want to block access to Russian developers. However, the authorities are not reassured and have promised to release funds for the development of a local platform that will offer a similar service.