The Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology is directly connected to the Iranian Government. Aside from evaluating and advising policy makers on science and technology issues, the largest research outfit in the country also provides a warez server where Photoshop, MS Office and many other applications can be downloaded for free, totally legal thanks to Iran’s lenient copyright policy.
In most of the western world the actions of the Iranian Government are often met with skepticism. Foreign governments get an uneasy feeling when Iran opens a nuclear facility, fearing it might lead to a nuclear arms program that would be an international threat.
Aside from nuclear issues, Iran has gained a bad reputation for censoring the public in its own country. These censorship issues reached new highs last year during the election protests, where the Government went as far as cutting citizens’ Internet access.
For copyright holders worldwide, the Iranian Government poses a significant threat. The country’s copyright law is set up to protect all copyrighted works produced by Iranians, but not those by creators from other countries.
Since 2001 Iran has been a member of the WIPO, and has acceded to several WIPO intellectual property treaties. However, the Iranian Government never signed the WIPO copyright treaty and other international copyright agreements that would make copying of foreign products unlawful.
This means that Iranians can share movies, music and applications as much as they like, as long as the copyright is not owned by an Iranian. In fact, even Government agencies actively help to distribute these works among the public, most notably the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST).
From a publicly accessible FTP-server Iranian citizens have free access to a wide range of software, including multiple versions of Microsoft Office (97 to 2010) and Adobe’s Photoshop (5.5 to CS3). All the ‘pirated’ files come complete with serials, cracks and keygens and can be downloaded for free.
To make the search for new warez even more convenient, all the files are neatly categorized in folders. Those looking for image editing software should take a look in the ‘Graphics’ folder which includes Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere and dozens of other titles.
Iranian web-designers should definitely take a look in the ‘Web Design’ folder, and the ‘Multimedia’ folder is of interest to those looking to play, burn or convert video and audio files. TorrentFreak’s personal recommendation is the ‘Screensaver’ folder, which includes beautiful waterfall and aquarium animations.
Again, all of this is perfectly legal to download, for Iranians at least. Luckily Iran is full of bright and young people who are eager to learn but don’t always have the means to pay for software. For some of them free software is the path to a better life for them and their families
Whether Adobe, Microsoft and other copyright holders will be happy with the software giveaway is another question. We doubt that it’s worth another war though.
Update: A few minutes after we published the article the public FTP was passworded. So much for free warez…. This still works though…
Update: Now all folders seem to be secured… For non-Iranians at least.
Update: Here’s the public FTP of the Tehran Polytechnic University.