The United States Navy has been sued for the sum of $600 million after it was discovered that hundreds-of-thousands of its computers had been installed with a pirated copy of a 3D virtual reality program.
Bitmanagement, a German-based software provider, filed a lawsuit in US Federal Claims Court last week – Bitmanagement says the US Navy extensively used the unlicensed copies of the application called ‘BS Contact Geo.’
The United States has taken a tough stance on software piracy over the past few years, pressing to criminalize copyright infringement and restrict access to copyrighted material.
That same government is now facing a $600-million lawsuit over what it says it is trying to stop.
BS Contact Geo is capable of converting geographical information into 3D virtual reality maps while retrieving data from land surveys, satellite imagery and airborne laser scanning, all at the same time.
The United States Navy has long been eyeing the software’s capabilities – the lawsuit says that in 2011 and 2012 Bitmanagement agreed to hand over 38 licences “for the purpose of testing, trial runs and integration into Navy systems.”
After testing, the US Navy launched negotiations on additional licenses, promising to purchase a sizable amount of copies.
US Navy Downloads BS Contact Geo Without Tracer
However, Bitmanagement learned that the Navy had already install BS Contact Geo into at least 100,000 or more computers in 2013 before the deal was made.
Bitmanagement said the Navy installed the program without their knowledge or consent.
Later in 2013, Bitmanagement executives began receiving email notifications that the software had been rolled onto at least 558,466 computers on the Navy’s networking systems.
Bitmanagement contends that the US Navy was simultaneously copying and installing the software, while negotiating with the German based company on a large-scale licensing agreement.
In 2014, the Navy also allegedly disabled the built-in software support to track how many computers the BS Contact Geo was being used on. At the time a single copy of the software cost $1067 – the lawsuit says the company is entitled to at least $596,308,103 in unpaid licensing fees.
The United States military has previously been accused of using pirated software – but earlier copyright lawsuits suggest that winning a case against the US government is no easy task.