US government pays $50 million settlement for pirated software
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US government pays $50 million settlement for pirated software

The US government has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a copyright infringement suit after the Army allegedly installed software on thousands of unlicensed computers.

Apptricity, an 80-employee company that supplies the Army with logistics software, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit with the US Court of Federal Claims seeking $250 million from the government.

In 2004, the Army paid for licenses for Apptricity software for three servers at $1.35 million each, along with licenses for individual computers. In 2007 the Army purchased licenses for another two servers and thousands of workstations, along with annual maintenance.

But Apptricity claims that the Army also installed approximately 100 server and 9,000 device licenses that it did not procure. The situation came to Apptricity’s attention when the US Army Program Director publicly stated in 2009 that thousands of devices had Apptricity software.

The software tracks the movement of goods, equipment and troops in real time across multiple time zones. The Army has used it in the Middle East and to handle emergency management efforts such as the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“Field commanders were focused on the mission-critical nature of Apptricity software and the need to protect warfighters and facilitate mission objectives,” said Apptricity CEO Tim Garcia. “Our battle-tested integrated logistics software performed so well that it went viral.”

After mediation, the parties agreed a settlement of $50 million for the present and future use of the software.

The US government is a frequent proponent of tough penalties for violators of IP rights and has run initiatives including the Joint Strategic Plan aimed at curtailing copyright infringement.

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