I came across this article today about the Rambler Group causing the offices of NGINX in Moscow to be raided:
Quick summary of the article
Russian police raided the NIGNX office in Moscow based on a copyright claim against NGINX by the Rambler Group (some big search engine company in Russia which I guess I've heard of, but never used).
The NGINX developer developed it in his spare time while working as a system admin for the Rambler Group. Despite the fact that he worked on it in his spare time and it had nothing to do with his work at Rambler.ru, 15 years later Rambler is now trying to claim they own it. Note also that even if they had a reasonable claim under the law (spoiler alert, they don't), apparently that claim would have expired by now due to the statue of limitations. Still they somehow managed to get the office raided.
Why does this matter?
Outside of software developers, most people aren't familiar with NGINX (pronounced Engine-X), but they benefit every day from this free, open source software that powers most of the web sites around the world. So if you've used the internet (and I suppose you have, if you're here), then you've used nginx. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen posts where Steemit talks about using it in their own infrastructure (we also use it at BlockTrades and some of my other companies).
So while you might never directly see it, actions like this do real economic damage to everyone, including you as a consumer of web content.
With all the injustice in the world, you might wonder why I chose to highlight this one. Partly it's just because I don't have enough time in the day to highlight all the problems out there, and also because this is the kind of injustice that many will never recognize.
But the other reason is that I think that people who contribute their time to open-source software make some of the most valuable long term contributions to the advancement of technology, usually for little to no financial reward, or even fame or recognition. This guy is in many ways a good example of this: I'd never even heard his name before today, despite having used his free software for years both in my own companies and just while visiting web sites around the world. So when some rich guys decide to target someone like this in order to make themselves just a bit richer, it really angers me.
What can you do about it?
In this case, I felt like there was little I could do. I don't use rambler.ru, nor any products of the Rambler Group, so I can't boycott them. The most I could think of to do was write this post and hope that there's people out there who are using rambler.ru that may consider dropping it as a result of this raid. It's probably a long shot, but some days you find yourself tilting at windmills....