US Navy Accused Of Massive Amounts Of Piracy By German Software Company

from the navy-pirates? dept

We’ve made the point for a long time that, on a long enough timeline, pretty much everybody is a pirate. The point is that the way copyright laws have evolved alongside such useful tools as the internet makes knowing whether common sense actions are actually copyright infringement an incredibly dicey riddle to solve. Often times without even trying, members of the public engage in infringing activities, up to and including the President of the United States.

And, it appears, up to and including entire branches of the United States military, though claims of accidental infringement in this case would appear to be rather silly. Bitmanagement, a German software company that produces virtual reality software, is accusing the US Navy of what can only be described as massive levels of copyright infringement.

In 2011 and 2012, the US Navy began using BS Contact Geo, a 3D virtual reality application developed by German company Bitmanagement. The Navy reportedly agreed to purchase licenses for use on 38 computers, but things began to escalate.

While Bitmanagement was hopeful that it could sell additional licenses to the Navy, the software vendor soon discovered the US Government had already installed it on 100,000 computers without extra compensation. In a Federal Claims Court complaint filed by Bitmanagement two years ago, that figure later increased to hundreds of thousands of computers. Because of the alleged infringement, Bitmanagement demanded damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

Both parties have since investigated the issue, with the Navy reportedly simply admitting that it installed the software on nearly half a million computers. Bitmanagement had assumed the Navy would be paying for these installations, but the military branch failed to do so and instead tried to work out much lower licensing costs with the company long after the fact. For its part, the government insists that it bought concurrent licenses rather than client licenses, but this defense makes little sense for any number of reasons. The scale of installations suggests that more than 38 users would be on the software at any given time, not to mention that Bitmanagement’s VARs are not authorized to sell concurrent licenses, and that nothing in the contracts the Navy agreed to even mentions the word “concurrent.”

In a request for summary judgement, Bitmanagement is asking for the government to be liable for the hundreds of thousands of installations it carried out and pay for them accordingly.

Now, while this infringement by the US government seems anything other than accidental, keep in mind that this same US government that regularly puts out reports and comments on the dastardly amounts of copyright infringement carried out by other foreign governments and their citizens. It seems as though America should get its own house in order, at least at the level of the federal government, before pointing any more fingers.

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Comments on “US Navy Accused Of Massive Amounts Of Piracy By German Software Company”

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49 Comments
JoeCoolsays:

Re: Re: America:

The Puritans were only a tiny fraction of the peoples settling the New World, and even then were not all that puritan as they left England because they were far too worldly for the English Puritans, what with wearing colored clothing and all. The “typical” view of a Puritan is the original English Puritan, not the ones who actually settled in what would become the US.

That said, the US is downright prudish compared to many other places. However, Europe has also gotten much more prudish in the last few decades.

Richardsays:

Re: Re: Re: America:

The Puritans were only a tiny fraction of the peoples settling the New World, and even then were not all that puritan as they left England because they were far too worldly for the English Puritans,

If they were too worldly for the English puritans then they could just have become anglicans instead. No, the reality was that the ones who left wanted freedom to persecute – which is why the US is so intolerant in all directions.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: America:

No, the reality was that the ones who left wanted freedom to persecute

What history books do you read? Is this one of the ones from ISIS/Russia/North Korea that paint America as the source of all evil in the world and themselves as poor little victims just minding their own business?

which is why the US is so intolerant in all directions.

Pretty sure that’s just people being people. Possibly also due to ridiculous amounts of red vs blue mentality. And not the good kind where you just shout at each other and make really bad attempts to steal the other team’s flag. Wait…

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: America:

“What history books do you read? Is this one of the ones from ISIS/Russia/North Korea that paint America as the source of all evil in the world and themselves as poor little victims just minding their own business?”

TTIP, TPP, ACTA, NAFTA, TiSA…

I guess that Russia, North Korea and ISIS are bad, but they aren’t the ones shoving through other countries’ throats aggressive trade agreements or else…

And regarding imperialist Russia, it’s true that they have a lot of commie or former commie countries, mostly around their area of influence. The US has military bases everywhere in the world, many of them in EU and Japan. Just saying.

I’m not saying that Russia and its allies (or whatever they are) are good and US is bad…

If you want a chess analogy: as a white pawn, I’m as scared of the white king as I am from the black one. At least I know the black one will eat me, but I’ll never know when the white knight will deem to sacrifice me, whether is to save himself, to eat a black piece, to gain position or just because he screwed up.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: America:

TTIP, TPP, ACTA, NAFTA, TiSA…

None of those are history books and have nothing to do with why the Pilgrims came to America in the first place.

The rest of your statements don’t actually have anything to do with what I stated or asked you in my comment and I’m really not sure why you’re bringing it all up.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: America:

“None of those are history books and have nothing to do with why the Pilgrims came to America in the first place.

The rest of your statements don’t actually have anything to do with what I stated or asked you in my comment and I’m really not sure why you’re bringing it all up.”

For the same reason that you’re bringing commie/evil countries into a talk about pilgrims and history books: completely unrelated.

Anyway, my point was related to the fact that if there are countries (or “history books”) that paint the US as evil it’s because the US is actually evil.

The other countries might be too, but right now, the one that is trying to bully half of the world into abusive agreements is the US.

And talking about “written history books”, we could say that the country that is actually writing many of them to make themselves look good (and democratic, and freedom) is the US. There are plenty of movies/books/media about that. And it’s surprising to see how the “evil guys” of those movies change depending on the decade the movie was made.

So, the post you wrote was the kettle calling the pot black.

About pilgrims? I don’t give a fuck about those prudes. I’m talking about the present right now.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: America:

For the same reason that you’re bringing commie/evil countries into a talk about pilgrims and history books: completely unrelated.

Actually, my comment was related as those groups/countries use propaganda to try and make their people think the US is the most evil vile nation in the world. While we have our faults, that’s not even remotely true. Hence, sarcasm and related. Your comments? Not so much.

Anyway, my point was related to the fact that if there are countries (or "history books") that paint the US as evil it’s because the US is actually evil.

What kind of logic is this? So just because anyone can write a history book and put what ever they want in it that automatically makes it true? I understand that history is written by the winners, but still, there are some facts that can be known to be true, regardless of how it is portrayed in various history books. The US being evil is far from true. I’m not saying we’re angels or have the moral high ground in all areas but we’re definitely not on the level of Russia, North Korea, China, Nazi Germany, etc…

The other countries might be too, but right now, the one that is trying to bully half of the world into abusive agreements is the US.

Being a bully isn’t good but doesn’t make one evil.

And talking about "written history books", we could say that the country that is actually writing many of them to make themselves look good (and democratic, and freedom) is the US. There are plenty of movies/books/media about that. And it’s surprising to see how the "evil guys" of those movies change depending on the decade the movie was made.

Just to point out, the US is free and democratic, not perfectly, but it is squarely in the free and democratic end of the spectrum. Your point about the movies, have you ever considered that they change depending on the decade because people in those decades were dealing with different things and so they made movies about it?

So, the post you wrote was the kettle calling the pot black.

So the US is in the same league as countries that round up their citizens and slaughter them by millions while maintaining total dictatorial control over all speech, news, and even determines what they can and cannot do or be? Oh yeah, exactly the same.

About pilgrims? I don’t give a fuck about those prudes. I’m talking about the present right now.

You may have been, but the rest of us weren’t. The initial comment I was replying to was:

If they were too worldly for the English puritans then they could just have become anglicans instead. No, the reality was that the ones who left wanted freedom to persecute

That was the whole point of my comment, that he was wrong and I questioned what kind of history books he was reading. Because the reality is the Pilgrims/Puritans didn’t come to America so that they would be free to persecute others, they came to America because they were being persecuted for their beliefs. It had nothing to do with them wanting to persecute others.

Regarding the present, tell me then, would you rather live in Russia, China, or North Korea if the US is so evil? Because obviously you think the US is the worst of the worst. So I assume you would be happy to live anywhere else. Go ahead, please, tell me what country you think is the best, most free, most democratic country in the world. I am curious to know.

Uriel-238says:

"Not on the level of Russia, North Korea, China, Nazi Germany"

Exactly how are you saying any of those countries are worse than or more evil than the US?

There’s a danger to jingoism for its own sake. We all yearn to be part of the in club, to point at others and be able to say we’re not as bad as they, but then we’re also eager to be more forgiving of our own, to give more mulligans and reserve harsher judgements for the other people.

A truly great nation is one that doesn’t regard itself as a great nation, but recognizes that this people is no better, no more moral, no smarter, no better looking than those other peoples.

A truly great nation is one that recognizes that all peoples make mistakes, but we will commit to learning from ours, so that the people we intern, the people to whom we deny life and liberty, the people we massacre will not have suffered in vein.

A truly great nation is willing to admit it’s not a truly great nation, but strives to be better than its been.

We all have to struggle to do right. We all have to beware of circumstances that will shape public opinion towards paranoia and contempt. We all are nations capable of the greatest mercy and the most terrible cruelty.

The thing is, the US indoctrinates its own kids exactly the way all other nations do, and it tells those children that our ideology is the best and should rule the world just like the Islamic State does. The US has failed entirely at being different at being anything more than just tribal organism that deserves no better regard.

Anonymoussays:

Re: "Not on the level of Russia, North Korea, China, Nazi Germany"

The thing is, the US indoctrinates its own kids exactly the way all other nations do, and it tells those children that our ideology is the best and should rule the world just like the Islamic State does.

We don’t tell our kids to go kill anyone who doesn’t believe exactly the way we do. In fact, I’m pretty sure we tell our kids to get along with people no matter who they are or where they come from. At least, this is what I believe is taught in schools here in the US. And I’m 100% sure we don’t tell our kids the US should rule the world.

I am in no way saying that we are the paragon of civilization. We’re not, that is painfully obvious. We have our fair share of problems and issues that we need to work through, just like every other country, and we have a long way to go yet.

However, what I’m not willing to admit is that we are just as bad or worse than the countries I listed. Perhaps they are better than us in some minor areas but the US doesn’t kill, jail, or censor the speech of its citizens just because someone happens to say something that doesn’t jive with official doctrine. The US doesn’t tell its citizens how many children they can or cannot have. The US doesn’t control every media outlet and filter the internet so that you can only see what is government approved. The US doesn’t determine what degree or profession you will pursue based on current quotas. The US doesn’t threaten nuclear war (in general, current moron President excluded) because we had a day or don’t agree with what some other country did. The US doesn’t have a dictator for a leader whose word is the ultimate law and is self-appointed for life.

We have a lot of things that suck. Racism is still an issue. Sexism is still an issue. Political division and hate are still issues. People and corporations take advantage of other people because they happen to have more power and are greedy. Cops get too trigger happy sometimes. And sometimes people just make mistakes and screw up. All of these things and more are our issues.

But for all our problems, you’re really going to sit there and say that we are as bad or worse than countries where their citizens have half or less freedoms than we do and have committed mass genocide? Give me a break.

Uriel-238says:

What we teach our kids

Here in the US we are teaching our children they are superior to those they can overpower, whether physically, or by numbers. Look at our president. Is he not leading by example?

We teach our children that they are equal so long as they are white, christian and wealthy, and for each of those things they’re not, they are more sub-standard. Sure we may occasionally pay some lip-service to liberty and freedom and equality, but without explaining what those actually mean in the United States. (Hint: Not much to women or slaves when the nation was founded.)

Girls are learning in their tweens that they’re less valuable than boys. Blacks are learning earlier than that our police looking for cause to put a hole in them. Yes, once upon a time we used to say that anyone can be president. We were lying.

And yes American Exceptionalism is the dogma that Americans are superior to other nationalities, that they should be regarded as such by other nationalities, and it is the duty and destiny of every American to spread American culture throughout the world, and raze any domain that doesn’t readily bow to our flag. And this is taught in most primary schools from sea to shining sea.

And the thing is we do kill people. We massacre our own for being non-white or for being poor. We massacre Afghanis and Pakistanis by the village. (We call them militants — including children and grandmothers — if that makes you feel better.) We also deliberately don’t count how many we kill, so that we don’t have to report it.

Thus it’s not going to be easy to say how well our crimes against humanity stack up against other nations. But is that acceptable to you, Anonymous Coward? Is American atrocity is acceptable so long someone else’s numbers are worse?

We live in an era in which groups are interned, in which children are separated from their families, in enemies of the state are imprisoned, tortured and detained for life without due process, and tortures are celebrated and hired to run CIA.

Our prisons are full of warm bodies, and we can’t say how many convictions are false, but we can show how easy it is for an innocent person to get indicted and convicted and imprisoned for years just because an officer or a prosecutor wants another collar on his notching post. We do have a policy of prosecutorial discretion which is, as seen outside the US, selective enforcement.

Anonymous Coward I think you have sorely underestimated the degree to which the US sucks. To be fair most folk in the US can’t handle the truth. It’s easy to, instead, watch comfortable news that verifies our own belief system, and assures us we can’t, or don’t have to do anything about it.

We protest when the atrocity gets in our face. We imagine easy answers to complicated problems. We assume terrible things are done by terrible people who cannot be understood, and should just be contained or destroyed. We blame our woes on others who are different, which makes it really easy to purge them.

We assume that our government is taking good care of things, because to imagine nukes and massive infrastructure and trillions of dollars in the hands of delinquent idiots is unconscionable.

The US really is that awful, Anonymous Coward and you’re not going to help make it better by pretending that it’s not. You’re not going to change things by saying at least we’re not as bad as North Korea when we should be looking at why Finland is happier than we are, and Germany has far better health care when we pay five times as much.

Stop being part of the problem.

Anonymoussays:

Re: What we teach our kids

Stop being part of the problem.

No, you’re part of the problem. You have an unrealistic view of the US and as such you can’t accurately identify issues and propose legitimate answers. If you think we’re worse than North Korea, then the best answer is to tear down our entire government and build a new country from its ashes. I guarantee you that would solve nothing.

You didn’t even bother to address any of the points I made about the freedoms we enjoy in America that aren’t available in many other countries. Or would acknowledging that actually mean you would have to admit you’re wrong?

Is American atrocity is acceptable so long someone else’s numbers are worse?

You assume I either don’t acknowledge or that I condone all those atrocious acts you list. Neither could be farther from the truth. I fully acknowledge that they happen and I also do not condone them, in any way, or shrug my shoulders and say "well at least we’re not as bad as country XYZ". However, that doesn’t change the fact that we are the most free country in the world and our citizens are afforded the most opportunities, period. Like I said before, I’m not saying we are a paragon of civilization or the perfect example. What I am saying is of the available options, we’re the current best choice and we’re constantly trying to do better. Compare that to Russia and North Korea who really do suck and they aren’t even trying to be better.

Yes, once upon a time we used to say that anyone can be president. We were lying.

Oh really? That’s rich. I guess Obama was actually white then? Because according to you, there’s no way a black person could ever be president. And don’t think I’m knocking on Obama, I liked him and thought he did a fairly decent job as President, I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy of your statement.

As I said, we have our issues. Yes we kill, yes we do many of the things you state. But none of those things are institutionalized. None of those things are the rule. In fact there are laws against many of those, such as cops shooting innocent people. A lot of the issues we face in America are not something that can be legislated away. Some perhaps. A lot of our problems in America are societal and that can’t be changed by law or mandated by the government. At least not and still retain our freedoms. The issues with young girls and their self worth? No law is going to change that. Cops looking for an excuse to shoot blacks? That’s already illegal, but racism and stereotyping are the true underlying factors. Racism is against the law but that doesn’t stop people from perpetuating it. People have to change to fix that. You can’t change people by passing a law.

And you’re being extremely dishonest in your description of American Exceptionalism. In reading through that article, at best you can draw the conclusion that it teaches that the American form of government should be a model that all nations should adopt. Not that they should all bow down to America and America should rule the world.

We assume that our government is taking good care of things

You can, I don’t. Which is why I contact my representatives to make sure they know I think they’re doing a crap job and I don’t vote for them again because of it.

We imagine easy answers to complicated problems.

Of course we do. That’s human nature. Most of us recognize though that there are no easy answers and are working to make things better.

I think you have sorely underestimated the degree to which the US sucks.

Fine, go move to North Korea. Then tell me how much the US sucks. Until then, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

To be fair most folk in the US can’t handle the truth.

You know, actually, I think it’s you who can’t handle the truth. Because if you could actually admit the truth, that the US isn’t the most wretched hive of scum and villainy in the world, then you might actually be forced to admit that you should probably get off your ass and actually do something to help change the things you don’t like. But instead, it’s so much easier to just sit back and say "well, it’s so bad there’s nothing I can do except complain from the armchair of my comfy lodgings on the internet that isn’t censored for me at all while I drink my beer".

The US really is that awful

No it’s not, but you are for thinking the US is even worse than the truly bad countries of the world, where ALL their citizens live in poverty with NO hope of bettering themselves UNLESS they can somehow escape to a nation like America.

you’re not going to help make it better by pretending that it’s not.

I’m not pretending things are all fine and dandy but I’m also not pretending that we’re the vilest of the vile, because I’m sorry we’re not.

You’re not going to change things by saying at least we’re not as bad as North Korea

I’m not saying that. I’m saying we’re not as bad as North Korea but we still have a long way to go and many things we can improve.

when we should be looking at why Finland is happier than we are, and Germany has far better health care when we pay five times as much.

I agree we should look at those things and see what we can adopt to improve, but once again, those are single areas where they are doing better than we are. That does not mean they are doing better than we are in every single area.

Anonymoussays:

Re: America:

‘Do as I say not as I do.’ That is and always has been the American way!

Especially when it come to copyright.

I remember when the FBI (the primary federal agency charged with copyright enforcement) was caught doing a similar thing a few years ago. Do you think they arrested and perp-walked themselves? Hell no! In fact, it work out so sweet for them that the Navy seems to have decided to give it a go for themselves.

Anonymoussays:

usual situation then. the USA wants to send as many people as possible to jail, for as long as possible, in order to stamp out copyright infringement of it’s companies media etc, but then expects to be able to ‘steal’ (and i use the term because the likes of MPAA, RIAA etc are very quick to use the same term when talking about their media!) software etc from companies that are outside the USA! the old ‘dont do what i do, do what i say’ syndrome, yet again!!

Anonymoussays:

Reverse last para: Keep in mind that Techdirt supports piracy,

so this attack on "piracy" is a change from YOUR position — but not the gov’t’s.

Oh, and Techdirt’s usual "no business presence in the US means no legal liability" for such as "file hosts", THEN your position logically should be that this German company has NO right to use US law in US courts demanding US money!

Be consistent, Techdirt: either give this a pass or start paying for all the software / content you use!

PaulTsays:

Re: Reverse last para: Keep in mind that Techdirt supports piracy,

Again, nothing but lies and attempts to smear the character of the writer. It’s sad, really, an honest person would merely agree that this is wrong, or explain why this is not equal to the other piracy stories in some way. Instead, you lie.

“start paying for all the software / content you use”

Prove that they do not already. No, stating that the copyright system is broken does not equal participating in piracy. Go on, prove yourself not to be a liar and prove your slanderous claims!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Reverse last para: Keep in mind that Techdirt supports piracy,

It must be odd living in such a black and white world where everything is “us” vs “them”.

The US government entered into a contract with a foreign company and then violated that contract. They then retroactively attempted to create their own favorable terms of use for the product they had purchased that were vastly different from what they agreed to. End of story.

Contrast this with foreign companies running a business in a foreign country, only to have the US government demand their parent company give the US government their data, against the constitutional laws of the country in which they are operating.

Does that make more sense now?

ECAsays:

NOT admitting anything..

Back in the OLD days..
Even with games/utilities/software $20-30 EACH,..

How many of us would STILL be paying off the bill, IF’ we had paid for every program??
How many of those programs WE SAMPLED..were NOT very good? And no Return policies would still cost us MONEY.

I love all the claims of Piracy. When 1/2 of the problem Is/WAS those selling the software.. Buy Crap and you still had to pay for it.. And demo programs that Never Covered much of anything..

Anonymoussays:

Yeah, but keep in mind that the US government also operates under Sovereign Immunity as far as copyright is concerned. This means the US government itself doesn’t care about copyright because it’s actually immune to copyright infringement claims. The only way that company can win is on breach of contract terms. The problem is the government doesn’t usually invoke that provision and tends to work with software companies under contract because ill will with the very companies it asks to complete projects under grants are more suited to industry rather than in-house groups and departments would be nearly impossible. You can get more flies with honey than vinegar.

You try to enforce copyright against say… the NSA or CIA and you’ll get laughed out of court.

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