Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Microsoft Philippines sued for Piracy!

I dugg the story on one of the earlier Inquirer.net news breaks ...

http://digg.com/microsoft/Another_Lawsuit_against_Microsoft_2

At the time I thought that it was probably an honest mistake on Microsoft Philippine's part.

Well, apparently, it wasn't.

From reading the most recent Inquirer article it seems that Microsoft was fully aware and even "tried to resolve the copyright dispute" as the title says.

It's also apparent that whatever Microsoft was offering to the university to resolve the dispute must have been unacceptable (to put it mildly) for it to actually go so far as to sue Microsoft Philippines and to name Microsoft Corp. in the US as a respondent.

Out of curiosity, I visited the university's website at http://www.southeastern.com.ph/. While it's not as famous as it's neighbor from a few blocks away (DeLa Salle University) the university has been around since 1946.

The article says that "Microsoft Philippines Inc. is disappointed", I think and believe the proper term is stunned that a little known university would challenge them in court and sue them for something that they are, ironically, staunch advocates.

I would dare say that if Microsoft Philippines was dealing with DLSU, UP or Ateneo, the story would be very different.

On the other hand, it could be a huge malicious publicity stunt but an incredibly risky one at that, even if they have Estelito Mendoza as their lawyer, because, all things considered, they're not suing just any company, they're suing the company that made the Internet Explorer browser, the spreadsheet application (MS Excel) and word processor (MS Word) that you and many people around the world use, and a company that has been known to exert "influence" on governments and entities.

I'm rooting for the underdog here.

Any person or organization should think twice, thrice and ten times before thinking of challenging a giant with vast resources such as Microsoft. To step forward and sue is either incredibly foolish or admirably principled. I hope they are the latter.

As a final note ...

The article also quotes a statement from Microsoft Philippines ...

" .... For all intents and purposes, this is a purely local matter which does not involve Microsoft Corporation, ... ”

I seriously beg to differ because if Microsoft loses this case, they will also lose the "moral pedestal" to demand companies to abide by intellectual property and copyright laws.

So the world will be watching, reading and listening in anticipation of what "Goliath" will do to "David" and if "David" can slay the giant or whether he will just give up in the end.