US army bites the bullet in $50m software piracy pay-out

Installed unlicensed software on thousands of devices

A US Army M1A1 Abrams tank heads out on a mission from Forward Operating Base MacKenzie in Iraq on October 27, 2004

The US army has been forced to pay out $50 million (£30.6m) for copyright infringement after admitting it installed software on thousands of devices without forking out for it.

Texas-based Apptricity produces logistics software which the military uses to manage the movement of troops, transport and other supplies across the globe.

“Field commanders were focused on the mission-critical nature of Apptricity software and the need to protect warfighters and facilitate mission objectives,” said Apptricity CEO Tim Garcia, in a canned statement.

“Our battle-tested integrated logistics software performed so well that it went viral.”

Going viral is one thing but installing 100 server and 9,000 device licenses across the globe without paying is quite another, so the 80-man software biz was forced to pursue the errant customer for payment.

After seeking damages in the US Court of Federal Claims for $224.5 million (£137m), a figure of $50m was eventually reached by the Alternative Dispute Resolution process.

This will include the army’s on-going and future use of the software, Apptricity said.

Still, the payout is apparently many times more than Apptricity’s annual revenue so the firm will be looking to expand its team with the extra cash injection.

"Apptricity is now incredibly energised to use the settlement resolution as a catalyst for aggressive investment in our team, our solutions and our untapped market opportunities,” said CFO Randy Lieberman, who obviously doesn't feel that suing the military will make it harder to sell to other defence forces.

The relationship between the two began back in 2004 when the army bought supply chain software elements for its transport management system, dubbed the Transportation Coordinators’ Automated Information for Movements System II. ®

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