“MOSCOW — Microsoft is vastly expanding its efforts to prevent governments from using software piracy inquiries as a pretext to suppress dissent. It plans to provide free software licenses to more than 500,000 advocacy groups, independent media outlets and other nonprofit organizations in 12 countries with tightly controlled governments, including Russia and China.

With the new program in place, authorities in these countries would have no legal basis for accusing these groups of installing pirated Microsoft software.

Microsoft began overhauling its antipiracy policy after The New York Times reported last month that private lawyers retained by the company had often supported law enforcement officials in Russia in crackdowns on outspoken advocacy groups and opposition newspapers.”

From The New York Times