U.S. Government Caught Using Pirated Software

Our government has been cracking down on intellectual property infringements. In a report published by the 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, run by the Vice President, it stated the administration’s commitment to enforce intellectual property laws:

Infringement of intellectual property rights continues to harm U.S. businesses and unjustly usurps or undermines American innovation. More work must be done to ensure that counterfeits are eliminated from the government supply chain, especially in relation to the national security apparatus. We will continue to look for ways to improve efficiency and coordination; collaborate with the IPR Center to identify relevant criminal patterns and trends and develop solutions to address those threats; and encourage voluntary initiatives to reduce infringement in the online and physical world.

You can read the rest of their long and boring report here.

It’s typical and humorous for the government to claim to “crack down” on crime while also being the biggest perpetrators of all.

They’ll claim to be trying to hunt down child pornographers, and I believe that they do hunt them down, and rightfully so. But then we find out that thousands of employees with the Pentagon, the U.S. State Department, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration (no surprise there) and the Missile Defense Agency, have all downloaded large amounts of pornography from the internet, much of it child porn.

There was even an employee that was found to be viewing this trash up to 8 hours a day. And he wasn’t just any employee. He was a senior official. In fact, this has been a major problem among senior officials in these departments. The media don’t usually talk a whole lot about these cases, but instead prefer to focus on civilian infractions.

It turns out that the Pentagon hasn’t just been downloading internet pornography. They also were caught pirating software from a company called Apptricity. And we know how much our government (allegedly) hates internet piracy.

RT reported:

In 2004, Apptricity agreed with the US Army to license the troop-movement software, allowing the government to use it on five servers and 150 standalone devices. Despite the deal, the Army has used the software worldwide.

“The Army has used Apptricity’s integrated transportation logistics and asset management software across the Middle East and other theaters of operation. The Army has also used the software to coordinate emergency management initiatives, including efforts following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti,” the company said.

The improper installation of thousands of unlicensed copies of software was discovered incidentally, when the US Army Program Director said during Strategic Capabilities Planning 2009 that thousands of devices had Apptricity software.

Ultimately, 93 servers and over 9,000 standalone devices of the Army had the unlicensed software. Apptricity figured it was owed $224 million based on usual fees of $1.35 million per server and $5,000 per device.

Apptricity filed a lawsuit at the US Court of Federal Claims, charging the government with willful copyright infringement, all while concealing the illegality.

As a result of getting caught, the Obama administration agreed to pay off Apptricity to the tune of $50 million, far less than what they would have had to pay had they been a civilian internet pirate.  RT pointed out more irony when it highlighted Biden’s resolve on copyright infringement. He said, “Piracy is theft, clean and simple.” I’m sure in this case, it was a simple oversight.