US govt settles software piracy suit for $50m

Army installed unlicensed copies of logistics software over several years

Tags: Apptricity Corp ( piracyUSA
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US govt settles software piracy suit for $50m The current US administration has previously been vocal on the subject of software piracy. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  November 28, 2013

The US government has agreed to pay $50m in settlement of a federal lawsuit brought by a small Texas software firm that claimed the US Army had installed thousands of unlicensed copies of its software over a period of several years.

According to a report earlier this week in the Dallas Morning News, Apptricity Corp, an Irving, Texas-based company with an 80-strong workforce, had licensed its logistics software to the US Army through Computer Sciences Corp, in November 2004. The army bought a three-server licence at $1.35m for each and also purchased much cheaper workstation licences for hundreds of machines. The software was used to keep track of soldiers and equipment during operations overseas.

In 2007 the army took out a separate contract, dealing directly with Apptricity, in which it extended the installation to five servers and several thousand workstations, as well as annual maintenance.

By 2011, Apptricity was able to confirm that the software was residing on at least 98 servers and almost 11,000 workstations.

In February 2012, the company filed an action with the US Court of Federal Claims, seeking $224.5m. While Apptricity would not disclose information about its annual revenue, its chief financial officer Randy Lieberman reportedly confirmed that the government's settlement is "a multiple of our annual revenues."

The current US administration has previously been vocal on the subject of software piracy.

"Piracy is theft. Clean and simple," Vice President Joe Biden told reporters at a Washington DC press conference in June, 2010.  

"It's smash and grab. It ain't no different than smashing a window at Tiffany's and grabbing [merchandise]."

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