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01.01.09

Microsoft Sends Its ‘Partners’ to Prison

Posted in Asia, Law, Microsoft at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates (2007)

FROM TODAY’S news about China:

A court in Shenzhen, China, sentenced 11 members of a software counterfeiting operation Wednesday, with the defendants getting between one and a half and six and half years in prison, according to Microsoft.

[...]

Microsoft applauded the PSB and FBI for their work in the case. “Software counterfeiting is a global, illegal business without borders,” David Finn, associate general counsel focused on piracy at Microsoft, said in a statement. “Criminals may be on the other side of the globe and may not even speak the same language, but they prey upon customers and partners all over the world. This case is a testament to the importance of Microsoft’s commitment to close collaboration with government bodies and local law enforcement agencies around the world to bring these criminals to justice, wherever they may be.”

PSB raids in July 2007 lead to arrests and the convictions. The PSB, with tips from Microsoft and the FBI’s Los Angeles bureau, found about 55,000 copies of counterfeit software and traced them back to the same syndicate, based in the province of Guangdong.

Microsoft sure loves calling them “criminals” — a word that it repeats several times in the official statement. Again, regarding China specifically:

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates (2007)

Why the sudden change? Here is what Gates said about China:

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft needs money now. It’s imploding. These crackdowns are good news to Free software.

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29 Comments

  1. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    January 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Gravatar

    “Microsoft sure loves calling them “criminals””

    Shouldn’t Microsoft be HIRING them?

  2. Jose_X said,

    January 1, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, this is a great post. Great title.

    Could you imagine, eg, Matt Asay, who speaks frequently about how distributing FOSS online is part of marketing (leading to paying customers later on), turning around and then trying to get those hosting the FOSS distribution servers (or running online FOSS for-profit businesses) arrested?

    I guess Microsoft no longer wanted the services of these guys. My question is: did Microsoft first offer to move them over to a different MS division, or did Microsoft simply push for the slammer from the get-go?

    Can you find out for us, Roy? Maybe someone from the NY Times or from the W Post can ask Gates personally. How does the mind of a financial genius tick? I’d buy their paper just to learn.

  3. Jose_X said,

    January 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, I have noticed ads on the side for microsoft. The domain names vary and would not be identifiable [MS probably has millions of such names disposable, ask godaddy.] The recent one I am looking at is for the B&M Foundry (Gates is great golly gee).

    No number of clicks could match the value of some of these ads to Microsoft (and I doubt Microsoft money keeps this nonprofit site going). I see them as off-topic and providing a negative service to many readers and to this site. I don’t expect you can do much about them, but at least you have my opinion.

    While I’m off-topic myself, let me mention this thread about compiz “stagnation”: http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2009010200235OSSW

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks. I saw that comment of yours earlier and wrote about it.
    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/01/02/amd-novell-friction/

  5. Jose_X said,

    January 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Update: After posting prior comment, I now find another pro-Microsoft ad to replace the other one (it might even be in the same position as the last one .. 3rd spot out of 4). This one is about “Bill Gates scholarship”.

    It must be great to have so much money (by hook or by crook as the need arises) to be able to buy significant influence into the future career directions of so many promising young minds.

    Hey, this comment about fostering addictions to the billionaire’s product line is on topic!

    Why pay taxes when you can spend a fraction of that money buying influence (hope Washington state, the Feds, and scholarship applicants are paying attention).

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Gravatar

    I have a post about this coming shortly. Microsoft has been doing a lot of ‘donation’ recently (drugware) and it’s very proud about it… for the cameras.

  7. Neo said,

    January 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Gravatar

    been using Ubuntu Linux for 4 years now and have absolutely no interest in Monopoly$oft’s products. i found something better.

    http://www.ubuntu.com
    http://www.openoffice.org

  8. Lyle Howard Seave said,

    January 3, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Gravatar

    Hey Roy,

    Offtopic/ ..
    Just wanted to wish you the best for 2009.

    Boycott Novell is still my number one source for Linux news.
    I enjoy the articles and the research you put in but your links are the biggest and most complete (and easy to navigate) of any free software promoting site.

    My top 3 Gnu-Linux sites of 2008 where:

    1. Boycott Novell
    2. Linux Outlaws (podcast)
    3. Groklaw (and I despise lawyers)

    I have this weird feeling that you will be in the top 3 for 2009.

    All the best for the upcoming year.

    PS: I know time is a problem for all but ever thought of doing a monthly recap podcast to go over what happened in the last month?

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Gravatar

    Lyle,

    Thanks a lot. Yes, I thought about it, but in order for it to be worthwhile it requires preparation ‘on paper’, which is time consuming and can be delivered as text (which in turn gets indexed).

  10. ObiWanKenobi said,

    January 3, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Great post Roy, keep on doing it!

    By the way do you know who the real pirates are? The operate off the coast of Somalia, East Africa.

    Another one: do you remember who started all this with “software piracy”?

    Many years ago they were running whole page ads in the computer journals. The top left would read: “Software piracy is a crime.”. Bottom right carried on: “How to tell. Phone xxx-xxxx xxx.”

    With so much money they have changed the language and caused a lot of confusion.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm

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    Even calling it “theft” is incorrect because nobody actually loses a copy.

  12. ArthurDent said,

    January 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm

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    Thanks Roy, for all the information. Thanks to all of you.

    I was playing with the idea of using Mono, but I increasingly realise that it’s a tricky issue.

    I’ve decided for Java now.

  13. darryl said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Gravatar

    It was not MS who made the arrests, it was the FBI, and personally i would trust that the FBI would look for criminials, and if they were arrested and imprissioned, i would call that criminal.

    Piracy is a criminal act, period

    be it on the high seas, music, software, IP, pictures, books. Its taking or selling something that does not belong to you, thats criminal.

    If it occured with Red Hat enterprise server, and it was Red Hat who applauded the FBI what would you then say ?

    DO you condone criminal activity ?? or do you condone it as long as it’s your hated MS that agreed with the FBI in determining it was criminal. ???

    Red Hat, just like MS have employees and share holders, they need to protect their assets, that means if RH’s products were being pirated they would do what they could to ensure their income stream and revinue, just like MS just like anyone.

    OR would you prefer those at Red Hat lost their jobs?? because their products was pirated and all that good work and long hours was being profited on by a group of criminals ?

    I find this ammusing, it was not even MS or gates who did it, it was the PSP and FBI and the Chinese Government. but BN has to spin it i guess, justify your existance and all

    Good luck with that, but after all this site does more damage to the FOSS movement that good, one day you might see that. but its good for a laugh Elma.

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Gravatar

    It was not MS who made the arrests, it was the FBI, and personally i would trust that the FBI would look for criminials, and if they were arrested and imprissioned, i would call that criminal.

    There are many articles about it. They did this at Microsoft’s behest using information that Microsoft supplied. Microsoft even bragged about it.

    Piracy is a criminal act, period

    Piracy is a criminal act, I agree. Murder, rape and abduction of people (or ships/cargo) is an atrocious thing.

    be it on the high seas, music, software, IP, pictures, books. Its taking or selling something that does not belong to you, thats criminal.

    Piracy can only be done at high seas. You seem to be confused by propaganda terms.

    If it occured with Red Hat enterprise server, and it was Red Hat who applauded the FBI what would you then say ?

    Red Hat would love to see its software spreading in China.

    DO you condone criminal activity ??

    Straw man.

    or do you condone it as long as it’s your hated MS that agreed with the FBI in determining it was criminal. ???

    Learn about China’s stance on intellectual monopolies. Laws are not universal.

    Red Hat, just like MS have employees and share holders, they need to protect their assets, that means if RH’s products were being pirated they would do what they could to ensure their income stream and revinue, just like MS just like anyone.

    It can’t be “pirated”. It can be copied, illegally shared, counterfeited.

    OR would you prefer those at Red Hat lost their jobs?? because their products was pirated and all that good work and long hours was being profited on by a group of criminals ?

    It’s funny that Mr. Gates very much endorsed these “criminals” while he needed them.

    I find this ammusing, it was not even MS or gates who did it, it was the PSP and FBI and the Chinese Government. but BN has to spin it i guess, justify your existance and all

    It’s a known fact that Microsoft does this. It’s nothing new nor unique.

    Good luck with that, but after all this site does more damage to the FOSS movement that good, one day you might see that. but its good for a laugh Elma.

    Happy new year. Laugh it up. :-)

  15. john said,

    January 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm

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    Whether you hate MS or not, theft is still theft.

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 5:57 pm

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    Piracy theft

  17. Roy Bixler said,

    January 3, 2009 at 6:26 pm

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    Not to mention, if anyone makes illegal copies of Red Hat, they would be guilty of stupidity in addition to counterfeiting or whatever. If one wants to use Red Hat but doesn’t want to pay for support, it’s certainly possible to use CentOS.

  18. Dave Lane said,

    January 3, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Gravatar

    Here here, Roy. Excellent – although I’m not sure if you want to say that “It’s Piracy” – that buys into the propagandist terminology… It’s breach of copyright, but nothing more. And copyright with license terms, in this case, is a mechanism for “artificial scarcity“, the way that read-only information producers like Microsoft attempt to treat software like a physical good (and subject it and the market to the same sort of forces) even though it’s demonstrably not, thanks to the fact that it can be copied at effectively $0 incremental cost. That’s something you can’t do with a physical object (except, perhaps a plant or tree – but that’s another topic, and a separate instance of corporate injustice supported by the state.)

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Gravatar

    http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2008/08/blog-post_29.html

    Roy Schestowitz said…

       This picture wrong. It’s not ‘piracy’ either. it’s copyrights infringement.

  20. Randie said,

    January 3, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Gravatar

    no its not theft. copying is NOT stealing end of story…. dont bother arguing about it because you are wasting your time.

    [img]http://boycottnovell.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/piracy-is-theft.jpg[/img]

  21. darryl said,

    January 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Gravatar

    Copying is Stealing, you copy a music CD, or a book or picture, its theft, you dont own it, but you are profiting off it.

    It takes time and skill to write a book, or software, software is just as physical and real as a book, or a dollar bill. none of which you are allowed to copy and profit from.

    Its THEFT and its criminal,

    I know the really poor argument that software is not physical therefore its “fair game” but thats just a spin so you can sleep well at night.

    No matter how you “spin it” its theft, its criminal, and if you dont believe me ask those that are in prison for it,. im Sure they will agree with me.

    BTW: software is just as physical as the keyboard you are typing on, its not “nothing” and its NOT a free for all, just like a book is, its taken time and effort to write that software, software that was written to meet a markets needs.

    If you like it or not MS Windows is used by MOST computers on the planet, the code did cost money to make, just as it costs RED HAT money to develop their code base.

    You cant get RH server edition “FREE” you have to pay for it, you have to pay for the effort that has gone into that code. So RH would not be happy if i purchased a copy of RH Server edition and make 10,000 copies of it and gave them away.

    That would be criminal, that code does not belong to me.

    Software is 1′s and 0′s on a CD or in RAM they are electronics, they have mass and if you had a scale sensitive enough you could weight it, saying its nothing is a poor excuse for you to steal it, and the LAW says you are a criminal if you do.

    So i dont really care what you say, software piracy and copying is theft, its criminal, and anyone who thinks otherwise does not understand the law.

    So according to you, a radio frequency is not anything real therefore you should be able to use whatever frequency you want, after all according to you its not physical so its fair game.

    Yet companies pay millions and millions of dollars to secure spectrum space, frequencies are auctioned off at great expense.

    IF you decided that its not physical and therefore real, and you started transmitting anywhere you liked, again the FCC would fine you, and if you kept doing it, you would be in prison.

    AS you are breaking the law.

    So dont be a criminal, and dont steal off other people, here’s an idea, come up with your own ideas and compete with MS on quality and service./

    See how that goes for a change, no wonder Linux is only a few % of market share, you cant be trusted.

    i dont know, but isnt it one of the 10 commandments that you should not steal things ??

    what if someone spends $50 million making a movie, and you steal it and pirate it, its only bits on a CD after all, its not like its real.

    Try it, and when you are caught and spend the rest of your life paying fines or in prison, then tell me how that is not theft.

    DONT be a criminal, it does not suit FOSS or the real world, makes FOSS look like a bunch of leaches..

  22. darryl said,

    January 3, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Gravatar

    What is Software Piracy: The Piracy Problem

    Introduction

    Over the past several years, advances in computer software have brought us time-saving business programs, educational software that teaches basic skills and sophisticated subjects, graphics programs that have revolutionized the design industry, Internet applications that help connect us with other computer users, and an increasingly complex variety of computer games to entertain us. As the software industry grows, everyone stands to benefit.

    Compared to literature, music and movies, computer software is a relatively new form of intellectual property. Nevertheless, software is protected under the very same laws that govern music, literature, movies and other copyrighted content. Copying software illegally is not any different than illegally copying any of these forms of intellectual property — and the punishments for doing so are equally harsh.

    All software comes with a license agreement that specifically states the terms and conditions under which the software may be legally used. Licenses vary from program to program and may authorize as few as one computer or individual to use the software or as many as several hundred network users to share the application across the system. It is important to read and understand the license accompanying the application to ensure that you have enough legal copies of the software for your organization’s needs. Making additional copies, or loading the software onto more than one machine, may violate copyright law and be considered piracy.

    Unfortunately, there are many people who, either ignorantly or deliberately, engage in software piracy. Whenever you use a piece of software that is unlicensed, you are depriving software companies of their earnings. More importantly, you are depriving the creative teams who have developed the software (e.g., programmers, writers, graphic artists) of compensation for the thousands of hours they have spent working on a particular program.

    In a very real sense, software piracy adversely affects the world economy by diverting money that stimulates further product development. Piracy particularly affects the United States, which currently provides approximately 80 percent of the world’s software.

    http://www.siia.net/piracy/whatis.asp

    Less than a month later, Ferrar’s record prison term was shattered when, on September 8, 2006, Nathan Peterson, owner and operator of iBackups was sentenced to 87 months (7 years, 3 months) in prison for his crimes. Peterson had previously pled guilty to two counts of criminal copyright infringement. In addition to his prison term, Peterson was required to pay restitution of $5,402,448 and a $250,000 punitive fee.

    DONT turn FOSS into a low life bunch of criminals with this stupid idea that copying software is “OK” because its not.. its a CRIME.

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Gravatar

    Copying is Stealing,

    Copying is copying.

    Stealing is stealing.

    These two word are not synonyms.

    you copy a music CD, or a book or picture, its theft, you dont own it, but you are profiting off it.

    Profiting is not the same as stealing.

    It takes time and skill to write a book, or software, software is just as physical and real as a book, or a dollar bill. none of which you are allowed to copy and profit from.

    I agree.

    Its THEFT and its criminal,

    No, it’s copyright infringement, which is criminal.

    I know the really poor argument that software is not physical therefore its “fair game” but thats just a spin so you can sleep well at night.

    Nobody justifies copyright infringement here. It’s just a two-faced or hypocritical POV of Microsoft that’s pointed out in this post.

    No matter how you “spin it” its theft, its criminal, and if you dont believe me ask those that are in prison for it,. im Sure they will agree with me.

    Copyright infringement is a crime, but this is no “theft”. Don’t mix the words like propaganda wants you to.

    BTW: software is just as physical as the keyboard you are typing on

    Are your thoughts physical too? Is a polynomial a physical asset?

    , its not “nothing” and its NOT a free for all, just like a book is, its taken time and effort to write that software, software that was written to meet a markets needs.

    Yes, that’s what copyrights are for. They protect perceptual things that are complete and unique works.

    If you like it or not MS Windows is used by MOST computers on the planet,

    It depends on your definition of “computer”. Desktops are not analogous to computers and the vast majority of computers (over 97% IIRC) are not desktops.

    the code did cost money to make, just as it costs RED HAT money to develop their code base.

    Yes, so we have copyrights.

    You cant get RH server edition “FREE” you have to pay for it, you have to pay for the effort that has gone into that code. So RH would not be happy if i purchased a copy of RH Server edition and make 10,000 copies of it and gave them away.

    That would be against the licence.

    That would be criminal, that code does not belong to me.

    True.

    Software is 1’s and 0’s on a CD or in RAM they are electronics, they have mass and if you had a scale sensitive enough you could weight it, saying its nothing is a poor excuse for you to steal it, and the LAW says you are a criminal if you do.

    You can’t steal code. You can commit copyright infringement.

    So i dont really care what you say, software piracy and copying is theft, its criminal, and anyone who thinks otherwise does not understand the law.

    There is no software piracy I’m aware of. Those folks in Somalia are not interested in software.

    So according to you, a radio frequency is not anything real therefore you should be able to use whatever frequency you want, after all according to you its not physical so its fair game.

    The spectrum debate is separate. It’s to do with public security (broadcast interferences and all).

    Yet companies pay millions and millions of dollars to secure spectrum space, frequencies are auctioned off at great expense.

    See above. It’s a different debate.

    IF you decided that its not physical and therefore real, and you started transmitting anywhere you liked, again the FCC would fine you, and if you kept doing it, you would be in prison.

    The FCC should be “rebooted”, according to Professor Lessig.

    AS you are breaking the law.

    Me? No. I use Free software.

    So dont be a criminal, and dont steal off other people, here’s an idea, come up with your own ideas and compete with MS on quality and service./

    Are you referring to me?

    See how that goes for a change, no wonder Linux is only a few % of market share, you cant be trusted.

    Actually, Linux dominates with about 94% market share in top computers, about 40% (estimated) in devices and a huge share in servers. It’s used more extensively than Mac OS and Windows, for example.

    i dont know, but isnt it one of the 10 commandments that you should not steal things ??

    Moses was told nothing about copyrights.

    what if someone spends $50 million making a movie, and you steal it and pirate it, its only bits on a CD after all, its not like its real.

    You can’t “pirate” or “steal” a film. You can infringe copyrights. That’s against the law.

    Try it, and when you are caught and spend the rest of your life paying fines or in prison, then tell me how that is not theft.

    Are you referring to me?

    DONT be a criminal, it does not suit FOSS or the real world, makes FOSS look like a bunch of leaches..

    Very much the opposite. FOSS people give their work to others. Leeches are those who only demand.

  24. Dave Lane said,

    January 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Damn, Roy, it’s a beautiful thing to see someone so misguided (Darryl) get so comprehensively served, all without emotive bs. A pleasure to read. Keep up the good work.

    Dave

  25. G. Michaels said,

    January 3, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Gravatar

    get so comprehensively served, all without emotive bs. A pleasure to read.

    Unfortunately that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Most of the time it’s nitpicking, topic drift or just plain ignoring people. Usually when he feels cornered.

    I praise my son when he picks up his toys, which is not that often at this point. He is however, 4 years old, so he needs the constant reinforcement.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  26. Dave Lane said,

    January 4, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Gravatar

    @G. Michaels,

    Apologies, but I appear to have missed your point. Either that, or perhaps you didn’t have one.

  27. ArthurDent said,

    January 4, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Gravatar

    To darryl
    and other advocates of MS:

    Are you comparing RedHat with Microsoft?
    It’s two entirely different things.

    Microsoft has been well known for breaking the law of both the US and Europe, being convicted, forced to comply and paying high fines. However, they keep doing the same stuff, only just a little smarter.

    Also, they have been well known for moving in the gray area between legal and illegal all the time.

    Period.

  28. Sum Yung Gai said,

    January 5, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Gravatar

    For those misguided people who keep saying, “it’s theft, it’s theft!”, here’s your wake-up call.

    The US Supreme Court says it isn’t theft.

    That’s right, the US Supreme Court says it isn’t theft. Yes, you read that right. That issue has already been ruled on.

    The case is Dowling vs. United States, and a discussion of it is available here. It concerns a bootlegging operation of music albums.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowling_v._United_States_(1985)

    I have read the Supreme Court’s entire ruling. Bootlegging copyrighted works, be it music, software, or otherwise, is against the law, for sure…but it is emphatically *not* theft.

    Case closed, next subject.

    –SYG

  29. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 5, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Gravatar

    Wow, for once I agree with Roy. What is this world coming to?

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  22. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  23. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  24. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  25. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  26. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  28. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  29. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  30. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences


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