A German maker of 3D virtual reality software is accusing the US Navy of engaging in wanton piracy, and we’re not talking about piracy on the high seas. This is about digital piracy of software, according to a federal lawsuit brought by Bitmanagement Software. The company is seeking copyright infringement damages of more than $596 million (€543 million) from the Navy for allegedly stealing more than 558,000 copies of its BS Contact Geo software.
The amount of damages, if the Navy loses, could go up substantially. Bitmanagement also noted that, in addition to licensing fees, it is seeking pre- and post-judgement interest, punitive damages, legal costs, attorney fees, and statutory damages that could amount to $150,000 per infringement.
According to the lawsuit (PDF) filed in the US Court of Federal Claims:
In 2011 and 2012, Bitmanagement agreed to license its software to the Navy on a limited and experimental basis. those individual PC-based licenses authorities the Navy to install BS Contact Geo on a total of just 38 computers for the purposes of testing, trial runs, and integration into Navy systems. In order to facilitate such testing and integration of the software on Navy computers in preparation for the large scale licensing desired by the Navy, it was necessary for Bitmanagement to remove the control mechanism that tracked and limited the use of the software.
Based on the quality and performance of the BS Contact Geo—including the interactive functionality and high-quality graphics that make it particularly useful to large military organizations—the Navy determined that it would deploy the software on a larger scale, and began negotiations with Bitmanagement for the purchase of numerous additional licenses.