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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Teacher Spurns Microsoft's Offer to Settle Out of Court

Rural school director Alexander Ponosov, who is on trial for copyright violations against Microsoft, on Monday rejected a settlement offer from the software giant.

Ponosov was charged with infringing Microsoft's copyright after law enforcement agents discovered that computers in his school in the Perm region had unlicensed copies of the Windows operating system installed on them.

A representative of Microsoft offered to settle the case out of court, but Ponosov refused. The school director insists that he is innocent.

"A representative of the injured party offered to settle with Ponosov on rather simple terms: Ponosov would be required to apologize to Microsoft for violating its copyright in his school," prosecutor Alexander Troyanov told the news web site Utro.ru. "If that apology had been made, the company would have made no further claims against Ponosov and would have petitioned to close the case. Ponosov categorically refused to do so."

Olga Dergunova, Microsoft's president for Russia and the CIS, said the company had not initiated legal proceedings against Ponosov. "The case was started by the Russian authorities and in accordance with Russian law," Dergunova said, RIA-Novosti reported.

Microsoft's losses in the case are estimated at 266,000 rubles (about $10,000). If convicted, Ponosov could face up to five years in prison.

Dergunova said the courts should assess the guilt of producers as well as unlicensed software users. "In this case, no criminal case should have been opened," she said.

On Monday, the court in Vereshchagino, Perm region, heard testimony from several witnesses, including a representative from the computer manufacturer.