US admits pirating military software

The US government has agreed to pay a $50m copyright infringement settlement to a logistics software firm

The US government has agreed to pay a $50m copyright infringement settlement after a software firm found thousands of unlicensed copies of its logistics programs on US military servers and devices.

Texas-based Apptricity has provided logistics software to the US Army since 2004 and claims the US government unlawfully installed the software on 93 servers and approximately 9,000 devices.

That means the US government got off extremely lightly with a $50m settlement when the licence fee for each server should cost $1.35m and $5,000 for each device, according to Ubergizmo.

In a statement, Apptriciity said the settlement figure represents a fraction of the software’s negotiated contract value. Apptricity had asked for $224m to cover costs, according to the BBC.

However, the software supplier appears happy to continue its relationship with the US military and would use the settlement to expand the company.

“Now that this process is behind us, it is envisioned the Apptricity and Army relationship will continue to grow exponentially,” said Tim McHale, an Apptricity senior advisor and retired major general.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the US Department of Justice has confirmed the settlement, but would not comment.

The revelation will come as an embarrassment to the US government, which has been leading a campaign against software piracy since 2010.

According to Apptricity, its software allows troop movements to be tracked in real time across multiple time zones.

“Tracking is granular to the level of an item’s location in a specific compartment on a particular ground or air transport vehicle or at its destination,” the company said.

Apptricity said the US Army has used its 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.

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