20 July 2016Copyright

US Navy sued for $596m in copyright claim

A German software company is suing the US Navy for copyright infringement in a complaint centring on virtual reality software.

According to Bitmanagement Software, a program called BS Contact Geo has been installed on “hundreds of thousands of computers” despite the navy not having a licence to use the software, which allows users to view military bases in a virtual reality format.

Bitmanagement claimed the Navy had licences to install the software on 38 computers in 2011.

But while negotiations were underway to expand the contract, the Navy allegedly installed unlicensed copies on hundreds of thousands of computers.

Bitmanagement filed its claim on Friday, July 15, at the US Court of Federal Claims, where it demanded “no less than” $596,308,103 in damages.

In the complaint, Bitmanagement claims the software has been downloaded on “at least 558,446 computers”.

“It is likely that this unauthorised copying has taken place on an even larger scale,” the complaint added.

Furthermore, in 2014, the Navy also allegedly disabled a program called Flexwrap. The program, installed on computers using the BS Contact Geo software, was intended to track use and duplication of the software.

Bitmanagement says that it has email proof that the Navy knew it needed a contract for more licences in order to install the software on additional machines.

The Germany-based company is seeking the damages to cover the value of unpaid licences, plus attorneys’ fees and statutory damages.

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