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Sony BMG Sued For Using Pirated Software 266

Posted by kdawson
from the turnabout-is-sweet dept.
An anonymous reader sends us to ZeroPaid, which seems to be the only site in English to have picked up a story out of France involving Sony and piracy. Except this time the shoe is on the other foot. The small software company PointDev learned that Sony BMG was using a pirated license for one of its system administration tools. PointDev got bailiffs to raid a Sony property and they found pirated software on four servers. The source article (link is to a Google translation of French original) quotes PointDev's spokesman claiming that the BSA believes 47% of software used in corporations to be illegal — whether he is referring to Sony in particular is not clear in the translation.
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Sony BMG Sued For Using Pirated Software

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  • by Skeetskeetskeet (906997) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @03:52PM (#22914266)
    Did the servers have rootkits on them as well?
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @03:55PM (#22914292)
    Ha ha! [seomoz.org]
    • by Ron Harwood (136613) <harwoodr.linux@ca> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @03:57PM (#22914314) Homepage Journal
      It's better when you can hear it. ;) [mobango.com]
    • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:43PM (#22914758) Journal
      All I ask is a little consistency....

      Either pirating other people's work (software, mp3 etc) is right or wrong. If it's right, then why are you laughing at this, according to half of the /.'ers they have the moral right to. If it's wrong, then they've quite rightly been done and you should go delete any pirated software you have. One of the reasons I switched to Linux is to get software that I couldn't otherwise afford, and do it legally. This story is going to show up a lot of hypocrisy.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:54PM (#22914864)

        All I ask is a little consistency.... Either pirating other people's work (software, mp3 etc) is right or wrong. If it's right, then why are you laughing at this, according to half of the /.'ers they have the moral right to. If it's wrong, then they've quite rightly been done and you should go delete any pirated software you have. One of the reasons I switched to Linux is to get software that I couldn't otherwise afford, and do it legally. This story is going to show up a lot of hypocrisy.
        We're not laughing because they're pirates. Hell, if this was just about anyone else, we'd be bitching about the search being on flimsy pretexts. We're laughing because we hate hypocrites, particularly hypocrites who hack our boxes and sue us without evidence. I hope they throw the book at these clowns.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:46PM (#22915310) Homepage Journal

        the BSA believes 47% of software used in corporations to be illegal
        The plan is to make every single person on earth an outlaw. This way, "The Law" can be used for purposes of control instead of to facilitate transactions among us as was intended.

        There is underway currently the greatest transfer of wealth in human history, and it's going from workers to the very rich. Sort of socialism in reverse, and the result will be that the world will become a very unpleasant place in which to live for most of us.

        • by BlackSabbath (118110) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:24PM (#22917140) Homepage
          I've said it before:
          http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=379451&cid=21579069 [slashdot.org]

          The recent era of plebs having the opportunity to better themselves whether in wealth or knowledge, and to live freely at the will of no other but subject to uniform laws that apply equally to all, will be seen in the vast scope human history as a short-lived blip that has more to do with the back-to-back industrial/information revolution than anything else. Disruptive tech has always caused upheaval until the it's subverted and the new order is established; welcome to the new order, same as the old order.
          The wealth redistribution is just the system returning to ground state after its recent (in historical scope) excitation.
      • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:27PM (#22915606)
        I agree, slashdot often publishes comments that are inconsistent with each other (sometimes even completely contradictory!)

        It almost seems as if they were written by different people.
      • by digitig (1056110) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:15PM (#22915948)

        All I ask is a little consistency....
        Why? /. is not one single person, nor is it one single person's view. There are lots of us in here, and some of us disagree with some of the others. You think that's hypocrisy? I think you don't understand what /. is.
      • by mshomphe (106567) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:41PM (#22916116) Homepage Journal
        It's called "irony". It comes in two flavors: delicious & bitter. This is delicious. Enjoy responsibly.
      • by rossifer (581396) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @09:15PM (#22916714) Journal
        Hypocrisy is the worst offense against trust and righteousness that can be made.

        Their argument regarding intellectual property is one of righteousness. Their hypocrisy reveals that they are merely a revenue maximizing engine attempting to extract as much profit as possible from a set of rules that they choose to pay attention to only when it suits their self-interest.

        The larger discussion about morality, legality and license/copyright violations is fairly complex, but my opinion is that that issue is extremely far away from right/wrong or ethical/unethical, and is instead only in the realm of legal/illegal. The act of making an unauthorized copy of a creative work is illegal, but not immoral (IMHO). If you choose to make such a copy, you're assuming the responsibility for the chance that you may be detected and sued by the **AA, but that's about it. Nobody feels bad about it, and quite honestly, I don't think anyone should feel bad.

        Sony, on the other hand, has been pursuing severe penalties for the exact same acts that they are also guilty of. So they're not only acting illegally, but they are also immoral because of their hypocrisy.
      • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Monday March 31, 2008 @09:31AM (#22920358) Homepage Journal
        Do you know how much copyright used to last?

        14 years.

        Yep, 14 years after publication you were free to copy at your heart content any material and publish it.

        Now it is death of copyright holder + 100 years. So for most productive people this translates in copyrights that extend for the best part of 150 years.

        This is sick, insane, unethical and immoral.

        The outrage is not that people in Slashdot seem more willing to endorse piracy more openly than most other people. The real outrage is that elected representatives everywhere have legislated to the current state of affairs (extending to international conventions), that private companies have corrupted copyright to such an extent, and that there are people like you demanding that others conform to a situation that is clearly not sustainable in a social system that prizes cooperation and inventiveness.

        People are not pirating stuff because they are bad or unethical. People are pirating stuff because they know they have been screwed and are not willing to pay homage to the screwers.

         
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @03:55PM (#22914298)

    Mandated by PointDev, a bailiff carried out a seizure
    Epileptics beware: pirated software will give you seizures.
  • Inside Sony (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @03:56PM (#22914302)
    I work in one of the US divisions of Sony as a system administrator. I know for a fact that all the commercial software I have knowledge of is properly licensed. This could be a rogue admin who couldn't be bothered to go through the proper channels for a license. Alternatively, it could be a problem with that particular division. It is NOT a company wide problem.
    • Re:Inside Sony (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Boycott BMG (1147385) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:30PM (#22914652) Journal
      Since you work for Sony, you should know that Sony/BMG is not Sony. Much like Sony-Ericsson, it is a separate company that is 50/50 owned by two large conglomerates. In S/BMG case, it is Sony and Bertelsmann, and in S-E case it is Sony and Ericsson. In addition, this incident takes place in Europe, so it is more likely to be a former BMG shop anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lemmy Caution (8378)
        This makes the hypocrisy/Schadenfreude even sweeter. Sony/BMG is a music publishing company, an active member in the RIAA and its global equivalents. I'm usually one for nuanced views on these things, but in this case I want see them hoisted so hard by their own petard that they'll never be able to even look at a petard [phrases.org.uk] again without wincing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ah, good. Maybe you can tell me if I have the latest rootkit installed.
    • Re:Inside Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by value_added (719364) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:44PM (#22914764)
      I know for a fact that all the commercial software I have knowledge of is properly licensed.

      That may be true, but it's never the "known knowns" that get you in trouble. ;-) Either way, for a system administrator, my compliments on parsing your words as carefully as a recent member of the Justice Department appearing before a Senate subcomittee.

      The question for your bosses, on the other hand, is there commercial software about which they have no knowledge that isn't properly licensed? Apparently there is. And that fact reflects badly on the public image of a company, among other things, even if the transgression occurred in someone else's division.
      • Re:Inside Sony (Score:4, Informative)

        by perlchild (582235) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:22PM (#22915576)
        Oddly enough, you're asking them about software they don't know about...
        Well if they don't know about it, how do you expect them to answer?

        Or do you just expect them to check now, and give you an answer later?
        As for reflecting on them... Employee behaviour at one sibling company doesn't reflect on the other sibling company, it reflect on the parent, for not disciplining it's "child" companies. This is not just a division, they are seperate companies, with only some owners in common.
        • Re:Inside Sony (Score:5, Informative)

          by analog_line (465182) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:59PM (#22916240)

          Well if they don't know about it, how do you expect them to answer?


          Legally, they're required to know about everything, even the stuff they don't know about. If they don't know about someone installing an illicit copy of MS Office on their work laptop, and that person is caught, they're certainly likely to fire the employee, but that doesn't stop them from being liable. Ask all the companies that the BSA's raided over the years.
    • Re:Inside Sony (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:59PM (#22914906)
      I used to work for a $12 billion/yr company that had a few issues with licensing. A program that the DBA's used ran $1000 a pop. I was asked to install it by a user on her new system. I told her we didn't have a copy of it in our library. She handed me a burned CD and told me this was the software installer.

      I looked at it rather suspiciously and asked her for the license documentation. She handed me a hand written license key on note paper.

      I asked her where she got the CD and I gave this guy a call. He was a tech at the corporate offices on the left coast. I asked him about it and asked how many licenses we had. (I was thinking they might have a corporate license and just needed to know who had the app installed)

      He replied that the company had 5 licenses. I asked him how many systems it was installed on. "Umm 50 here I think."

      Yeah, right. I reminded him that it was not a good idea to install apps without a license. He agreed, but was ordered to do it by the head of the department that uses this thing.
      (Management by threat is the standard with this company)

      Knowing where this was going I thanked him, told my supervisor, (Who almost had kittens when I filled him in), broke the CD in front of him and another witness and then told the user that the app wasn't going on her system.

      Moving forward, I have second hand information that this problem was reported up the line twice to the VP who managed my org. I personally told him that we had at least 35 illegal copies, (installed by the users themselves when we refused to do it), and that considering the numbers of DBA's and developers in the company, we might be out of compliance to the tune of 1-2 million dollars.

      His exact words were:

      "I don't want to hear about this. If I hear about this officially, then I'll have to do something about it."

      This bozo was dumb enough to say that to me in front of witnesses.

      My local group continued refusing to install this thing and kept extensive documentation, (CYA type), regarding this.

      Shortly before I left a panicked data call from the CIO came down asking for the number of installs at our site. I had the number of course, but I like to think that someone blew the whistle on them.

      Shortly after I left, both the VP I reported to and the CIO either wanted to "Spend more time with their families, or seek new alternatives elsewhere". ;)
    • Re:Inside Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mpe (36238) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:08PM (#22914978)
      I work in one of the US divisions of Sony as a system administrator. I know for a fact that all the commercial software I have knowledge of is properly licensed.

      Depending on the exact definition of "commercial software" you happen to be be using then you could be "pirating" quite a bit of software. Just because software is not "commercial" does not mean that it is exempt from copyright.
      • Re:Inside Sony (Score:5, Informative)

        by faedle (114018) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:39PM (#22915272) Homepage Journal
        I was going to come in here and make this exact comment.

        I can count on one finger the organizations I've worked for where shareware tools like WinZip were actually properly licensed. At one shop I worked at, I actually had the CFO (who also functioned as the CIO/CTO) say, in these exact words, "oh, nobody actually enforces that WinZip license.. you think the BSA is gonna come in here and bust our nuts over 100 unlicensed copies of WinZip? Get real!".

        Three months after I left this company, the BSA came in, did a "software audit", and indeed busted their nuts over 100 unlicensed copies of WinZip (along with other licensing violations).
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:01PM (#22916994)

          Three months after I left this company, the BSA came in, did a "software audit", and indeed busted their nuts over 100 unlicensed copies of WinZip (along with other licensing violations).


          So what did you spend your reward money on?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by confused one (671304)
      You have to be careful... We thought we were included in our parent companies SA plan. Everyone here from the top down believed this to be true. When it came time to renew, we found we had never been included. It was called a "misunderstanding" by corporate headquarters. We had to stroke a check for over 100k to bring our facility up to date with Microsoft.
    • Re:Inside Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ecuador (740021) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:17PM (#22915064) Homepage
      Yeah, you really back up what you say by posting as an Anonymous Coward.

      So, it was probably just a "rogue admin", maybe it was easier to get it pirated than to go through the proper channels, or maybe it was deemed too expensive for what it was offering. In any case it was willful infrigement and I think Sony BMG should pay 150.000 x the price of the software for each violation. Note that the number is not selected randomly - it is the equivalent of the cases where Sony BMG is suing.
      I should note that the software in question even offered a 30-day evaluation.

    • by tm2b (42473)
      Why in the world would you expect anybody to believe anything you write after, "I work in one of the US divisions of Sony?" Because you read Slashdot, you expect to get a pass on the overall deceitful, criminal behavior of Sony's "computer professionals?"
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      I know for a fact that all the commercial software I have knowledge of is properly licensed.
      You think so?

      Whattya wanna bet that your company is in violation of one or more of the EULAs for the products you use?

      The licenses are designed to ensure that this is the case.
      .
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        I was about to say that. Are you sure everything's licensed?

        I'm getting more and more the idea EULAs and copyright law altogether are created in such a way to ensure you can find something if you wanted to. I'm even willing to accept that in this case, the responsible admin thought everything is properly licensed, and that it was an oversight, not deliberate piracy, as in so many cases where the BSA crashed into a company and pulled them into the spotlight for piracy, copyright infringment and other, simila
    • Relax, man. I'm fairly sure the BSA doesn't read here, or at least they don't care about what's written here.

      In other words, you can't avoid a BSA audit by posting here.
    • by Nikker (749551) *
      You know you seem like a nice guy and all, but they should check anyway, just in case ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mabhatter654 (561290)
      but what about EVERY backup copy on EVERY server and PC desktop.... even the BROKEN or workbench ones? That's how they get you.

      Software licensing is like that statement "give me 6 lines from an honest man...", The one-sided structure of most EULA's makes them nearly impossible to be 100% legal in the real world.

      Let's say you have a backup server cluster/SAN.. technically that software may be considered "pirated" because it's on the PC running it, and 2 backup servers that "could" run it, as well as any PC
  • by Herkum01 (592704) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:00PM (#22914346)

    I am surprised that this does not occur more than it does in large businesses like Sony, the scale of the company increases the number of opportunities for this to occur. Also there are more people that have guilty knowledge that something like this occurred. It would only take one of these people to become disgruntled and rat out their employer( for a finder's fee of course).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rolfwind (528248)
      People don't want to bite the hand that feeds IT?
    • It would only take one of these people to become disgruntled and rat out their employer
      And this seems to be exactly what happened. For those who don't follow links:

      An investigation triggered by the request of an employee of Sony BMG
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bluesky74656 (625291)
        Not quite. I think the employee made called PointDev tech support, and PointDev got suspicious when they couldn't find Sony in their customer database. My impression is that it wasn't the intention of the employee to rat out Sony.
      • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:27PM (#22914624)
        OUCH! Even stupeder than taht! Read on, an employee contacted the software company for tech support!
        • by gnasher719 (869701) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:24PM (#22915150)

          OUCH! Even stupeder than taht! Read on, an employee contacted the software company for tech support!
          How would that be stupid? As an employee myself, who is not working in the purchasing department, I cannot possibly have knowledge whether each piece of software that I am using is properly licensed, but I work under the assumption that all the software is licensed properly. Accordingly, I would feel free to contact someone's tech support if needed. Anyway, having fewer licenses than needed can be explained by negligence; having no license at all means something seriously dodgy is going on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tomhudson (43916)

        It would only take one of these people to become disgruntled and rat out their employer

        And this seems to be exactly what happened. For those who don't follow links:

        An investigation triggered by the request of an employee of Sony BMG

        Nope. I read the original french article, not the translation, and the employee called tech support for help, not knowing that the license key was pirated. PointDev didn't have them in their customer database, tracked down the key, then got a bailiff to seize the servers i

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      This is exactly what the BSA is pushing with it's turn you boss in bounty. Just like witch trials and Hitler youth, it is a terror technique used force businesses in a competitive market to cave into protection rackets. I saw this in several places, where huge amounts of company resources were used to acquire, install, and maintain auditing software.

      Of course a businesses should not be under such uncertainty. I mean, in the US the congress is constantly trying to halt the uncertainty that consumer liti

  • by Quantam (870027) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:05PM (#22914392) Homepage
    I'd classify this under evidence there is a God
  • by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:06PM (#22914404) Journal
    Will PointDev get to hold Sony responsible for theorhetical lost sales in the same way the RIAA charges thousands of dollars per pirated song? [pitchforkmedia.com] I wonder what a 92000% markup on PointDev's software is?
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:45PM (#22914788)

      That makes no sense. In P2P situations, the idea is that the person has shared each song with lots of people who would otherwise have bought it. Nobody is accusing Sony of putting this software on a P2P network, so where would the idea of "theoretical lost sales" come from? The number of lost sales is known, it's the number of installations Sony were using.

      I'm all for holding Sony to their own standards, but let's not just invent crazy behaviour and pretend it's the same thing.

      • Nobody is accusing Sony of putting this software on a P2P network, so where would the idea of "theoretical lost sales" come from?

        Sony BMG did even worse: they probably put it on a hacker "darknet" (read: internal fileserver). Since those are explicitly designed to distribute unauthorized copies of software clandestinely, they obviously must have served at least 1,000 copies for each unauthorized installation that was found.

        Hanging isn't good enough. Hanging isn't good enough for the thieves.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bogtha (906264)

          Sony BMG did even worse: they probably put it on a hacker "darknet" (read: internal fileserver). Since those are explicitly designed to distribute unauthorized copies of software clandestinely

          Internal corporate fileservers are not explicitly designed to do any such thing.

          they obviously must have served at least 1,000 copies for each unauthorized installation that was found.

          Again, that makes no sense. Sony were raided. They know exactly how many unauthorised installations there were.

          I know

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Wavebreak (1256876)
            *Wooosh*
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Just Some Guy (3352)

            Internal corporate fileservers are not explicitly designed to do any such thing.

            Next time I'll open with a <sarcasm> tag. Yes, those arguments are similar to what Sony BMG used against citizens via their RIAA subsidiary. Buy a new computer? Must've been hiding evidence! Hard drive seizes and needs to be replaced? Must've been hiding evidence! Don't own a computer? Must've been hiding evidence! Have files in inadvertently shared folders? Obviously must have distributed them at least 100 times.

            I claim full right to be endlessly amused at the ironic comeuppance speeding

    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:50PM (#22914840)
      Somewhere between $750 and $150,000 per copy, unless they want to prove actual damages in excess of that amount (unlikely). Not much of a thought exercise, there.

      As to what a 92,000% markup has to do with anything, who knows. You're off by a factor of ten based on the amount in one example case, but moreover, it's not a markup, because it's not based on a retail price.
    • by sconeu (64226) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @07:38PM (#22916092) Homepage Journal
      PointDev should have put an "anti-piracy" rootkit into their software.
  • by saibot834 (1061528) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:08PM (#22914428) Homepage
    I once browsed a propaganda site by the film industry with the domain respectcopyrights.de (German). By chance I came across a PDF that had explications that sounded familiar... they were exact copies of some articles on Wikipedia! This is clearly a copyright infringement, as Wikipedia is licensed unter the GNU Free Documentation License [wikipedia.org] and there are special conditions for redistributions of GFDL content which where not fulfilled.

    Some cynical emails by me later and they eventually removed the content (they properly didn't want to include the GFDL into their propaganda material, as it would be quite contrary to all the pro-copyright stuff). This shows us: even those who try to make us believe copyright is important don't really care much about it when _they_ want to copy something.
  • by sodul (833177) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:09PM (#22914446) Homepage

    PointDev's spokesman claiming that the BSA believes 47% of software used in corporations to be illegal -- whether he is referring to Sony in particular is not clear in the translation.

    I'm french so I can provide a more accurate translation:

    Selon la Business Software Alliance, une association regroupant les principaux éditeurs du marché, 47 % des programmes utilisés en entreprise le seraient de manière illégale en France...

    According to the Business Software Alliance, an organization representing the major software companies, 47% of the software used by businesses in France is used illegally.

    So 47% is the global number for french businesses, not limited to Sony.

    • by RDW (41497)
      Now we just need someone to translate the BSA's 'statistics' into something approaching reality. As zdnet put it when discussing previous claims:

      http://news.zdnet.co.uk/leader/0,1000002982,39205464,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

      'Unless the BSA gets its act together and replaces overstated and misconstrued data with properly researched and carefully presented facts, it will become known as an arrogant organ of propaganda.'
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MikeCamel (6264)
      Seconded: the Google translation is poor, and the original French is clear. It's not talking about 47% of software used by Sony, but by enterprises in France.
    • While it's true that it's meant to apply more generally than to just Sony/BMG, the sentence should be translated a little differently: "47% of the software used in business is used in a way that is illegal in France." Thus, the phrase "in France" is meant restrictively.
  • Bad summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by nonpareility (822891) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:10PM (#22914450)
    Not that I expect Slashdot editors to be able read French, but if you're going to post a story on a top news site, it's usually a good idea to know what it says. -Specifically, it's PointDev's CEO quoted in the article, not just some spokesman. -PointDev's CEO is not claiming the BSA said anything. The article states BSA's statistics. -BSA's statistics clearly refer to enterprises in general. How would anyone (besides Sony) know the exact percentage of software that's pirated in Sony?
    • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:20PM (#22914552)
      Frankly, given the sheer size and worldwide distribution of that company and its various divisions, I'd wager that nobody at Sony has any idea what that percentage really is either. That's true for any behemoth corporation: tracking licenses is a full-time job for some people.
  • The 47% figure (Score:3, Informative)

    by psychodelicacy (1170611) <psychodelicacy@gmail.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:12PM (#22914474) Homepage
    I think the original French article is saying that 47% of software used in companies in France (rather than just by Sony) is being used illegally. And it's quoting the Business Software Alliance directly, not the PointDev spokesman.
  • I still wonder... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mantaar (1139339) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:20PM (#22914554) Homepage
    why the fuck stupid Microsoft didn't get busted for something similar [slashdot.org].

    It's good to see Sony pay though. I hope this gets mainstream news coverage - I really can't stand those Hippocr... ah, excuse me, my choleric side is breaking through again...

    Sue the bastards!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Regarding the 47% number, this can mean a couple of things.

    First, it may mean the corporation just doesn't have the documentation that verifies they legally own the software they bought. Microsoft is famous for shaking down corporations that have either misplaced or misdocumented licenses in order to force them to buy again or upgrade software.

    Also, this likely includes various "non-commercial use only" freeware. Software like Toad, which you can use for free at home, but at work you have to pay to use. I a
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mpe (36238)
      I don't condone piracy by any means. I just avoid it by using open source software with an OSI approved license.

      Actually it is perfectly possible to "pirate" open source software. However the risk tends to be exclusivly on the party distributing it. So long as you arn't distributing the software then there isn't an issue, even if whoever you got it from didn't do everything they should.

      The legal traps these corporations put into their proprietary products is burdensome. To go through procurement for eve
  • by eagl (86459) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:24PM (#22914590) Journal
    Use the RIAA's math to figure damages... A single shared 3 minute song is worth many thousands of dollars in damages to the RIAA, so some software that took thousands of man-hours to create ought to be worth a few billion.

    Sony needs to put up or shut up.
  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimicus (737525) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:28PM (#22914632)
    Seen the average EULA lately? I read them - I have to, I'm the IT manager - and I'd estimate that about 60% of the time it's clear whether or not we're covered by purchasing a particular product and using it in a particular way, 20% of the time it's not entirely clear but we're probably OK and 20% of the time I have no freaking idea. Not every piece of software has a license as clear-cut as "One copy per PC".

    Ironically, auditing software tends to have the most obscure licensing terms and is frequently next to useless anyway - either because it only goes by what's in the registry for "Add/Remove Programs" (so some dodgy copy of an application which was hacked around and no longer appears in "Add/Remove Programs" won't be caught) or it just gives you a list of every .exe on the system and expects the administrator to make sense of every single one individually. Now, the BSA might be prepared to go through that list if they think they can make some money by doing so but I can't spare the time.

    It is for all practical purposes impossible to put hand-on-heart and say "I can guarantee that we're not using a single piece of pirated software" in any significantly sized business today. About the best you can do is say "I'm pretty sure we're not, however if you can provide evidence that I'm wrong I will be happy to look at resolving the issue - either by using an alternative product or buying whatever it is that we're missing".

    I would gladly migrate the entire enterprise over to Free (either speech or beer) software tomorrow for every single business need - it would eliminate that worry at a stroke - but this is the real world and half-decent Free accounting and payroll applications are pretty thin on the ground.

    My guess is that someone less than honest installed the application in the past with a pirated key and left the company. Their successor ran into trouble with the application and did the sensible thing - called the vendor.
    • Not every piece of software has a license as clear-cut as "One copy per PC".

      You'd think more people here on /. would know that. Look at the Visual Studio license:

      You can have one copy installed on a desktop.

      You can have another copy installed on a mobile machine, iff it's used by the same developer when their away from their desk (on travel).

      You can have a copy installed on a third machine, for testing and debugging.

      We recently got into this discussion with our IT guys over an audit. I have a copy installed at my desk. I have a copy installed on my test machine, which i

    • by faedle (114018)
      I would gladly migrate the entire enterprise over to Free (either speech or beer) software tomorrow for every single business need - it would eliminate that worry at a stroke - but this is the real world and half-decent Free accounting and payroll applications are pretty thin on the ground.

      Ernie Ball Co. [infoworld.com] had no problems figuring that out after getting stung by a $90,000 BSA audit.

      It's all a matter of business priorities. If a small-to-medium-sized guitar string manufacturer can do it, I suspect most shops
      • by jimicus (737525)

        Ernie Ball Co. had no problems figuring that out after getting stung by a $90,000 BSA audit.

        Firstly, that's really getting old. Is there seriously no more recent example?

        Secondly, Ernie Ball did have a problem figuring it out. Right at the end of the article there's a paragraph that I think you may have missed:

        The company still runs its critical business applications on a Unix server using an accounting package from The SCO Group, formerly Caldera International. A future project will involve moving that system over to Linux, Whitmore said.

        No mention as to whether or not they eventually migrated it, let alone what they migrated to.

  • by af48 (305097) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @05:20PM (#22915100)
    "PointDev aurait remarqué que Sony BMG ne disposait pas des droits d'Ideal Migration, après une demande d'aide envoyée par l'un des employés de la maison de disques au support technique."

    "PointDev noticed that Sony was unlawfully using "Ideal Migration" only after receiving support inquiries from one of Sony's employees."

  • Everyone is guilty (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:08PM (#22915474) Homepage

    the BSA believes 47% of software used in corporations to be illegal

    I believe that's referring to companies in France but, in my experience, I've never been in an enterprise that would survive a 100% audit and not find something out of spec in its license.

    To me that's one of the best reasons to run F/OSS. Which makes it ironic that MSFT claims using F/OSS is a liability. Well, how does that liability compare to the near guarantee of of a big fine in the event of a BSA audit?

    Perhaps someone with more legal background could answer the question of if you're not running any proprietary software, if BSA would be able to claim grounds for an audit? The obvious answer is no....but how would you prove you don't have any BSA covered software on your system? Or do you need to? I'm not at all clear how that process works. Maybe I should call myself into their hotline and see how they handle it.

  • I mean the BSA is now in teh process of going around busting whoever they can and imposing on the busted enormous charges yet giving none of it back to the software producers.

    Sorta a self proclaimed police body.
  • The French article states that 47% of French (as in, in France) companies run pirated software. ('entreprises' is more generic in French; so this implies small/medium/big biz) They don't quote the source of their statistic.
  • by Eskarel (565631) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:07PM (#22917024)
    I once took a flight into LA sitting next to a bloke who made movies(or claimed he did, who knows in LA). He was violently against pirating movies, but he was running a pirated version of Office on his PC with no moral qualms whatsoever.

    This fight isn't about the right or wrong of copyright, it never has been. It's about a bunch of folks fighting to protect their livelihoods. This is a perfectly natural thing for them to do and something we all understand. Unsurprisingly the folks fighting the hardest are the folks whose positions are becoming superfluous under the new system. I could even forgive them, except most of the current batch of record/movie execs have never been anything but scum sucking parasites as their positions have been tecnically superfluous since before they got them.

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