Monday, December 07, 2009

Latest Microsoft dispute in China

A friend of mine in China tells me that this court case involving Microsoft and a dispute over fonts, which I haven't paid a lot of attention to, has been a really big deal over there.  Apparently it's been all over the media, court hearings televised live and watched by millions and Microsoft have not been faring too well in the PR stakes as a result.
"The US software giant must not sell versions of Windows XP, 2003, 2000 or 98 software in the Asian super-economy after a Beijing court ruled the products include Chinese fonts designed by a local company.
The court said Microsoft had violated its licensing agreement with Zhongyi Electronic, which designs character fonts.
Microsoft said it plans to appeal the ruling, adding it "respects intellectual property rights" and uses the intellectual property of third parties "only when we have a legitimate right to do so"."
Said friend also tells me that the average woman on the Bejing omnibus has no concept of the notion of people being able to "own" intellectual property.  They have shared ideas for millenia - that's how the world gets better - copy, refine, re-mix, rework, improve.  It doesn't exactly harmonise then with Microsoft allegedly breaching local intellectual property regulations but she reckons they are being lambasted by the public more for being a global US corporation than for the specifics of their transgressions.  As I said I hadn't paid much attention to it so it was interesting to get a local perspective.

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