Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Philippine school sues Microsoft

Heard this on TV a couple of days ago and now it's receiving coverage from the major newspapers.

Short summary: Southeastern College, a school in Pasay City, is suing Microsoft Philippines for P100-M (USD2.5-M) for distributing the school's self-developed Microsoft Office training manuals on CD without permission.

At the heart of the lawsuit is a 379-page Microsoft Office training manual that Southeastern College developed for its teachers and students way back in 1999. In 2004, Microsoft bought the rights to print 10,000 copies of the manual to distribute via its Partners in Learning program.

However, in October 2006, Microsoft was alleged to have given away CDs containing PDF copies of the manual as part of its second Innovative Teachers Leadership Awards in the Philippines without permission from SEC.

SEC's statement reads: “By illegally copying and distributing Innovate in digital format, Microsoft has enabled easy access and reproduction to an effective learning tool that promotes Microsoft products."

Local Microsoft representatives have not directly commented on the case, except to say to point out that the program has trained nearly 19,000 public school teachers and reached more than 1.7 million Filipino students.

“We worked with SEC over the years to provide this curriculum to these teachers free of charge, including 10,000 hard copies that we provided to public school teachers and that SEC does not dispute,” the statement continued.

Southeastern College is a Microsoft IT Academy. How this affects the relationship is not yet known at this time.

A roundup of the coverage:

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Pasay school sues Microsoft for P100M and the followup story Microsoft says it tried to resolve copyright dispute.

From the Manila Standard Today, Pasay college sues Microsoft.

From ZDNet Asia, Philippine school sues Microsoft over copyright.

Personally, I'm of two minds about this.

On one hand, it's good to see that what's good for the goose is good for the gander -- payback time for the bullying that Microsoft has done all these years.

On the other hand, the lawsuit and the claim seem frivolous and disproportionate. I might feel differently if it's code, but a training manual of a well-established program?

The matter reeks of publicity-hunting: I had not heard of Southeastern College up until today. The fact that it the school is also a Microsoft training partner also gives me pause: with enough goodwill, some compromise could have been reached. The way it sounds, it feels someone was really determined to file a case.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps someone promised something to somebody that was extracurricular in nature but was discovered and prevented by the head office from coming to a completion. That somebody thought that he/she/they were denied the rightful enjoyment of the fruits to their illicit gains thus decided to be... petty.

    And sue.

    Of course, this is just an onery opnion from a cynical skeptic.

    - Hoovenson