On Sunday The New York Times ran a front page story that said government officials in Russia have a new way of stifling political dissent. They send security officers to the offices of advocacy groups and opposition newspapers to seize computers under the guise of searching for pirated copies of Microsoft software. And Microsoft’s own lawyers have lent their assistance, the article reported, even when organizations possessed evidence that their software was purchased legally.

Microsoft Corp. General Counsel Brad Smith learned of the story before it landed on his doorstep — but not by much. Though others in the company knew earlier, he only caught wind of it on Saturday afternoon, he said, and that made for a very busy weekend.

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