Software Company Accuses Military of Copyright Piracy

By William Vogeler, Esq. on March 19, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

What happens when you put a bunch of young people in a room with a lot of computers?

In the case of the U.S. military, copyright violations happen. Hundreds of thousands of them, according to a lawsuit.

But is it really a surprise? When it's possible that even monkeys can copy a Shakespearen play, it had to happen.

According to reports, a German software company has accused the U.S. Navy of massive copyright violations. Bitmanagement licensed the military to use its 3-D virtual reality software on 38 computers in 2011 and 2012.

But it quickly got out of hand. The company discovered the Navy installed the software on 100,000 computers without a license.

By the time the controversy turned into a lawsuit, Btimanagement alleged the government pirated hundreds of thousands of copies of its software. Tech Dirt reported that the Navy admitted installing the software on its computers.

"Often times without even trying, members of the public engage in infringing activities, up to and including the President of the United States," the ezine said.

Who's in Charge, Sarge?

In a motion for summary judgment, Bitmanagement alleges the military copied the software onto "at least 429,604 computers." The government contends that it had a concurrent license to install the software across its networks.

The motion, pending before the Federal Claims Court, will determine whether the government is liable for copyright infringement. Damages, the plaintiff alleges, could be as high as $600 million.

It is not the first time the U.S. military has been sued for pirating software. A few years ago, the Obama administration paid $50 million to settle a copyright claim.

For companies that employ many computer users, it's a lesson in making sure workers do not download or install unlicensed software. That lesson was paid for by the U.S. government.

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