U.S. Navy sued for software piracy
February 15, 2017

U.S. Navy sued for software piracy

“While these negotiations were ongoing, however, and without Bitmanagement’s advance knowledge or consent, the Navy installed BS Contact Geo software onto hundreds of thousands of computers. Bitmanagement did not license or otherwise authorize these uses of its software, and the Navy has never compensated Bitmanagement for these uses of Bitmanagement’s software….”

Bitmanagement Software GmbH recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy. According to the allegations in the Complaint, Bitmanagement provided the Navy with 38 copies of its 3D software – which creates 3D images of buildings and other geographic terrain – for “testing, trial runs, and integration into Navy systems“ ostensibly to licence the same software on a larger scale.  Bitmanagement goes on to allege that the Navy rolled out the software to hundreds of thousands of computers without paying for a licence, all while negotiations were still underway.  To make matters worse, Bitmanagement also alleges that the Navy began disabling tracking features on the software designed to prevent it from being duplicated. The company claims that the retail price of a single license is $1067.76 and that roughly 560,000 computers received the unlicensed software .  If the company is correct about the number of computers on which the pirated software was installed, it would seem that if all damages are awarded in this lawsuit, it will place a 0.01% dent in the pentagon’s $600B budget next year (or perhaps the following). The Complaint, in all its glory, can be read here.

One has to wonder about the rationale of placing this 3D software on hundreds of thousands of computers (wasn’t google maps enough?).  And why would the Navy need over 600,000 computers for its 330,000 active duty personnel (is each sailor provided with a desktop for office use, and a laptop for field use?).   With the Navy’s recent track record with other failed projects (like the $23B Littoral Combat Ship), one also has to wonder how much of the defense budget is actually being used for defense?  Now don’t get us wrong.  We are huge fans of the men and women that proudly serve this country.  But this seems like a huge managerial oversight. Perhaps the Navy should consider rehiring Captain D. Michael Abrashoff…