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Sony BMG Sued For Using Pirated Software

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the turnabout-is-sweet dept.

Sony 266

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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Makes You Wonder (5, Funny)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914266)

Did the servers have rootkits on them as well?

Re:Makes You Wonder (1)

yamiyasha (1119417) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914284)

Yes, but they only link you to sites, where you can buy a PS3!

Re:Makes You Wonder (0, Redundant)

Deadfyre_Deadsoul (1193759) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914528)

Pay no attention to the man behind the server....his warez are not good warez.

Chris Matthews, Obama's semen is on your lips... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914578)

Once you go black, you never go back, right Chris?

Re:Makes You Wonder (4, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915072)

Did the servers have rootkits on them as well?

Yes, so now they can deny they installed anything and just blame, um, Sony.

Let me be the first to say (3, Funny)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914292)

Ha ha! [seomoz.org]

Re:Let me be the first to say (3, Funny)

Ron Harwood (136613) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914314)

It's better when you can hear it. ;) [mobango.com]

Re:Let me be the first to say (5, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914758)

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.

Re:Let me be the first to say (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914972)

too bad that the last legal provision against piracy where targeted toward music protection... not that the software piracy is under punished. the sad part is that law doesn't apply here.
why? seriously, are you asking why?

Re:Let me be the first to say (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915310)

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.

Lost in translation... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914298)

Mandated by PointDev, a bailiff carried out a seizure
Epileptics beware: pirated software will give you seizures.

Inside Sony (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914388)

you and sony still suck.

Re:Inside Sony (5, Interesting)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914652)

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:Inside Sony (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915090)

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:Inside Sony (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22915188)

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 pirated. The GP could be a rogue admin who couldn't be bothered to go through the proper channels to make a media statement. Alternatively, it could be a problem with that particular division. It is NOT a company wide problem, I think.

Re:Inside Sony (1)

perlith (1133671) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914664)

Agreed overblown story. Still surprised ... IT Security Audits didn't reveal this?

Re:Inside Sony (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914672)

Ah, good. Maybe you can tell me if I have the latest rootkit installed.

Lalala I can't hear you (1)

jnadke (907188) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914694)

We will pretend we didn't hear that in the interest of thoroughly flogging Sony.

Let the hate commence!

Re:Inside Sony (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (1)

hee gozer (1261036) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914768)

...posted as an AC to make the claim seem more legit.

Re:Inside Sony (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914782)

Do you work for BMG? If not then STFU moron.

Re:Inside Sony (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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". ;)

Slashtroturf? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914914)

It is NOT a company wide problem.

Well, if you have nothing to hide, you won't mind if they have a look around... right?

Re:Inside Sony (4, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (4, Informative)

faedle (114018) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915272)

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).

Re:Inside Sony (2, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915020)

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 (4, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915064)

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.

Re:Inside Sony (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915210)

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?"

Re:Inside Sony (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915336)

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.
.

This was a stupid move on Sony's part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914328)

If they'd just managed to CD-rootkit the Pointdev developer's machines, they could have stolen the source code and made a rebranded version that wouldn't have gotten them caught. Sony should talk to Pointdev about using Bluray BD+ DRM to make their content pirate-safe! Oh well, maybe Sony/Vivendi can track down the dev's characters in WoW and ransom their gold in order to get them to drop the lawsuit.

corepirate nazi softwar gangsters killing off... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914336)

each other. can anyone guess what their motivation might be? et yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Re:corepirate nazi softwar gangsters killing off.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914384)

Seek psychiatric help, you're displaying classic early-stage schizophrenic symptoms.

Re:corepirate nazi softwar gangsters killing off.. (1)

chunk08 (1229574) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914568)

No. It looks like amanfromMars from The Register has found slashdot. For unknown reasons, he always posts AC here, but I would recognize his comment style anywhere. This is the second comment by him/her/it I have seen on /. in a couple days.

Re:corepirate nazi softwar gangsters killing off.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914692)

I don't see why both couldn't be true? Knowing someone from another forum does not preclude them being on the merry path toward crazytown.

Re:corepirate nazi softwar gangsters killing off.. (2, Interesting)

chunk08 (1229574) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915046)

This I understand. I guess my previous post wasn't clear enough. The general opinion on El Reg is that amanfromMars is an experimental turing machine which is designed to learn to communicate by reading internet forums. He/She/It posts many places... usually as amanfromMars, though sometimes AC. The nonsensical mess spewing from whatever this is sounds more like AI than a demented human. At least thats my opinion. I think it would be interesting to see the server logs and run a whois on the IP address of this commenter.

Re:corepirate nazi softwar gangsters killing off.. (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914920)

...which contradicts the parent how?

rj

Re:corepirate nazi softwar gangsters killing off.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914512)

this is a total example of the twisted attacks that the conservative rulers are tRYing to pull over OUR eyes.
by posting meaningless rants that do not make sense they are confUSEing people and discouraging them from using critical or difficult methods to solve problems.

IE its easier to make up stuff and rant about what you would like the problem to be, than to do the wORK required to find the actual problems and do something about it. The reason the leaders keep leading and the sheep following is that the sheep cannot be bothered to be coherent or effective.
jUST by sublimating what could have been an effective and legal process of change into science fiction, you remove the potency of the rebels and ensure their revolution always stays fiction.

the most effective weapon your rulers have is to take the tools of change from you.
these tools are organisation, hard work, the courts, due process, and the law. once you realise YOU are able to use these in the same way as the rulers YOU become effective. IT is a boring and tedious process, but the only one that has provably worked, if only for the people you think you are fighting.

Why it does not happen more often? (4, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Why it does not happen more often? (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914466)

People don't want to bite the hand that feeds IT?

Re:Why it does not happen more often? (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914542)

People don't want to bite the hand that feeds IT?
Oh, I'm pretty sure they do. [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Why it does not happen more often? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914536)

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:Why it does not happen more often? (3, Insightful)

bluesky74656 (625291) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914620)

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.

Re:Why it does not happen more often? (4, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914624)

OUCH! Even stupeder than taht! Read on, an employee contacted the software company for tech support!

Re:Why it does not happen more often? (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Why it does not happen more often? (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915122)

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 in question.

Awesome... (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914360)

This couldn't be more wonderful. Hopefully they really get nailed for it. If they are so focused on Intellectual Property that people can't even modify their own gear they have purchased or back up their own Blu-Ray's, they need to get nailed for an actual blatent, intentional misuse of another company's software.

Re:Awesome... (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914798)

You seem to be confusing Sony and Sony/BMG. Sony/BMG is a separate company that is 50/50 owned by Sony and Bertelsmann (hence the Bertelsmann Music Group). They only publish music. That's it. Sony Corporation, on the other hand, makes electronics, movies, replicates DVDs, and has researched and developed products like the CD, 3.5" floppy, and Betamax.

Re:Awesome... (0)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914884)

Riiiiiight. Because this isn't OBVIOUSLY the actions of a single (or small group of) admin(s), in COMPLETE violation of formal, written company policy...

Re:Awesome... (2, Interesting)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915002)

And when the RIAA/Sony/whoever comes to prosecute you for filesharing, they really care that it's just your 15 year old son sharing a torrent against your permission.

Maybe they need to check their code a bit better?

Re:Awesome... (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915006)

So? If one's kid is downloading music illegally at home, in "complete violation" of the family's policy, does that protect the parents from the various industry groups that might press lawsuits?

Re:Awesome... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915222)

So? If one's kid is downloading music illegally at home, in "complete violation" of the family's policy, does that protect the parents from the various industry groups that might press lawsuits?
The question here is who or what is a legal entity. A family is not a legal entity, but each family member is its own, separate legal entity, and a company like Sony is its own separate legal entity. Just like you are responsible for any action of any of your body parts, so is Sony responsible for the actions of each of its employees.

Re:Awesome... (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915398)

Are you a lawyer? Because I believe that, in terms of liability etc., a family (as a guardianship) actually is a legal entity. Not that I'm a lawyer, but...

Re:Awesome... (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915158)

Riiiiiight. Because this isn't OBVIOUSLY the actions of a single (or small group of) admin(s), in COMPLETE violation of formal, written company policy...

I don't know what the "translation" says, but the original french article makes the point that the keys were generated at the time of the merger of the 2 companies, when they would need to migrate data from one server to another. It wasn't "casual". that's why the company is saying they're not interested in "working out a settlement" - they want a judgment, to serve as a warning.

Only 'haha'? (5, Funny)

Quantam (870027) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914392)

I'd classify this under evidence there is a God

Re:Only 'haha'? (5, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914444)

I'd classify this under evidence there is a God

But only if you believe that Sony BMG was intelligently designed.

Re:Only 'haha'? (0, Offtopic)

eagl (86459) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914776)

But only if you believe that Sony BMG was intelligently designed.

But remember, man is made in God's image so next we can expect an asteroid to hit the earth and kill everyone. That would pretty much fit the sadistic petty jealousy model man seems to have been made with.

What will they charge per pirated copy? (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914404)

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?

Re:What will they charge per pirated copy? (4, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:What will they charge per pirated copy? (1)

$random_var (919061) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915236)

In P2P situations, the idea is that the person has shared each song with lots of people who would otherwise have bought it.


To an extent yes, but you're missing the point. Large penalties apply for certain kinds of acts based on the assumption that only an infinitesimal portion of those acts will be discovered. The marginal cost to society of each instance of speeding by 15 miles per hour is almost negligible, yet enormous (to those of us in the middle or lower classes) fines apply. When the probability of punishment is lower, a more severe punishment is required to have the same effect (or so the reasoning goes).

Re:What will they charge per pirated copy? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915316)

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:What will they charge per pirated copy? (2, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915386)

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 it feels good to try to hang them by their own rope, but you just sound stupid when you say stuff like this. It doesn't resemble their own arguments, so it isn't hanging them by their own rope.

They've been caught infringing copyrights, they'll be prosecuted and their hypocritical behaviour has been exposed. Isn't that enough without trying to drag stupid arguments like this into it? It's almost as if you are trying to discredit the arguments against them by making them sound like the ravings of morons.

Re:What will they charge per pirated copy? (3, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Copyvio happen all the time... (4, Interesting)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914428)

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.

Re:Copyvio happen all the time... (0, Redundant)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914524)

They're hypocrites, pure and simple. And nobody respects a hypocrite.

Re:Copyvio happen all the time... (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915044)

They're hypocrites, pure and simple. And nobody respects a hypocrite.

It isn't exactly unexpected, the MPAA having been caught as both movie and software pirates, it might be better to assume that all the major music and movie companies respect nobody's copyrights other than their own.
This is also the same company which got caught putting computer malware on disks they were passing off as music CDs.

Re:Copyvio happen all the time... (1)

RCL (891376) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914942)

Just a sidenote: copyright is important for GFDL and GPL as well. Without copyright law, GPL'd code becomes essentially BSD-licensed one, if not public domain. That is what commercial software vendors doing here in Russia, since they perfectly know that it's really unlikely for any Russian court to even understand what GPL violation is, let alone punish it. Thus "free software" is also being pirated, not by its users, but by competing vendors.

Re:Copyvio happen all the time... (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915204)

Just a sidenote: copyright is important for GFDL and GPL as well. Without copyright law, GPL'd code becomes essentially BSD-licensed one, if not public domain.
Your point gets made a lot around here. But it doesn't take into account the bigger picture.

Stallman's goal is that the market for software will eventually get to a point a lot like where the automotive market is today. Software without source code is like a car with the engine compartment welded shut. No one would buy a car like that because it is a basic expectation that anyone should be able to open up their car and work on their engine -- even if 99% of car owners never do and just let a mechanic take care of things, the expectation is still there.

Similarly with Stallman's goals for the software marketplace - even though the vast majority of buyers will never take a peek at the source, the ability to do so will become a baseline assumption. In a market like that, there is no need for copyright laws to enforce software Freedom, no one will be able to make a living selling non-Free software.

Re:Copyvio happen all the time... (1)

RCL (891376) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915428)

Well... I'd rather predict the opposite: sooner or later cars will be sold with their engine compartment shut to prevent "unathorized" opening, so it can only serviced in service centers. That's how every industry grows: in the beginning every driver was also a technician, then the roles started to separate and finally they are completely independent of each other. Specialization is a tool that our society is built upon, so why do you think that anyone except software engineers will be interested in source code?

I'm software engineer myself, but I don't expect everyone to behave like me even now, let alone in the future, when our industry finally matures :-)

47% is global, not for Sony (5, Informative)

sodul (833177) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914446)

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.

Re:47% is global, not for Sony (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914858)

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:47% is global, not for Sony (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915040)

I thought it was already an "arrogant organ of propaganda"

Re:47% is global, not for Sony (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915328)

I wouldn't argue with that. And I've got a pretty clear mental image of exactly which organ...

Re:47% is global, not for Sony (2, Informative)

MikeCamel (6264) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914936)

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.

Bad summary (3, Informative)

nonpareility (822891) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (2, Informative)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914474)

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.

Re:The 47% figure (1)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914548)

French is my 1st language and I can confirm exactly this.
- 47% of software used in companies in France (rather than just by Sony) is being used illegally.
- Source: Business Software Alliance

Re:The 47% figure (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915000)

Merci!

**doing a little dance of joy that my French is not as bad as I feared it was**

I still wonder... (4, Informative)

Mantaar (1139339) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914554)

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!

"Pirated" can mean many things (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914562)

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 always see situations where someone on a project team knows "this freeware I use at home" and it becomes part of the regular toolset. Unknowing, of course, that they are technically pirating that software.

I don't condone piracy by any means. I just avoid it by using open source software with an OSI approved license. The legal traps these corporations put into their proprietary products is burdensome. To go through procurement for every little text editor or utility is absurd in any large corporation. You'll wait 5 weeks to get something you just needed to use for a single day. And procurement doesn't like it either. License management is a bitch.

So instead of Photoshop, use GIMP. Instead of Toad, use SquirrelSQL. Instead of UltraEdit, use gVIM or jEdit. Obviously if you are some kind of power user that uses Photoshop all day every day, it may be worth your time to request a license. But if you just need it every once in a while, fuck it, just use GIMP.

Same goes for libraries. Why pay thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for proprietary widgets, toolkits, and frameworks when the best of breed is probably open source (LGPL or Apache) anyway? But I'm guessing I'm preaching to the choir.

Re:"Pirated" can mean many things (2, Interesting)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915172)

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 every little text editor or utility is absurd in any large corporation. You'll wait 5 weeks to get something you just needed to use for a single day.

If this is happening then at least the corporation in question is protecting itself from the risks associated with proprietary software.

And procurement doesn't like it either.

It probably isn't cheap to have a suitably qualified lawyer check an EULA either.

Use the RIAA's math to figure damages (4, Insightful)

eagl (86459) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914590)

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 (5, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914806)

They called the vendor to said "we are sorry we have been misusing your product. How much should be pay to get a proper license?", and the vendor get a plaintiff and raid the place? Seriously? This is your only logical explanation? Do you work for Sony?

Re:Not surprising (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915136)

Er... More likely the sysadmin didn't know the software was pirated - after all, it appeared to be legitimate, and HE didn't have to crack it. He assumed that some one, somewhere, long ago, bought the software, and called the vendor to receive support.

Re:Not surprising (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915288)

The weird part was that it was http://www.laprovence.com/articles/2008/03/19/347901-UNKNOWN-Une-societe-vauclusienne-attaque-le-geant-Sony.php [laprovence.com] rather obvious it was cracked - there was a keygen used (search the net for "TAM/CORE" for more info) and most of the time, people who install cracked software leave the keygen somewhere on the machine "just in case".

This is one of the risks that you run into when your business is dependent on closed-source, proprietary software - more specifically, in this case, when you run Windows.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914854)

Why does everybody in your business need to use accounting and payroll applications?

Re:Not surprising (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915232)

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 is in my office, so clearly I'm the one using it. They weren't sure whether to call that two licenses or one; so, I agreed to uninstall it from my test machine when I'm not using it. Since I wasn't using it at that moment that greatly simplified the problem.

Re:Not surprising (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915320)

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 could figure it.

Re:Not surprising (2, Interesting)

pushf popf (741049) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915456)

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".

I worked for a bank in the 90's and their compliance policy was that "Every single PC needed to have a box and manual for everything on it". If it didn't they would fire the employee.

It always stuck me as inefficient and expensive, but now that I think about it, compared to the cost of having a person validate everything, or getting caught with your pants down, it was a bargain.

They didn't do site licenses, license packs or anything else. If your machine had MS Office, you had better have a box in your desk that says "Microsoft Office" on it.

If it didn't come as "1 copy per box", they generally wouldn't buy it.

Upon getting caught with their pants down... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914662)

...a representative from the French division of Sony was quoted: "I surrender!"

Eh, French News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914792)

So it probably hasn't been picked up here in north america because of the love we have for the french.

I mean, they make up more of their news than china does, right?

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22914828)

The software pirates YOU!

Discovered because someone called tech support (0, Redundant)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#22914946)

For those who didn't read the article, the software publisher discovered about the piracy at Sony because a Sony employee called tech support for the product.

A surprisingly large amount of corporate software piracy is discovered via tech support requests.

If you steal software, don't call the support (3, Informative)

af48 (305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#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."

French Clarification (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#22915308)

According to the French article, they say 47% of all business software in France is believed to be pirated/illegally licensed.

According to me, I say 47% of all BSA statements are made up on-the-spot. The other 53% are merely obvious.

Thing is, they blame company policies and inadequate budgeting because frankly, if you're a sysadmin and you need a tool to do your job, you'll want your boss to pay for it. If they don't, well the job still needs to get done so many people download a cracked copy, get 'er dun' and keep that idiot boss off their back. I have to say, this makes a whole lot of sense.

Now that I've cleared that up, I would like to know what kind of broken judicial system allows a private company to hire a bailiff and raid someone's offices. Yes, I know the BSA does this all the time with rent-a-cops, but the practice is deemed illegal in many jurisdictions, not to mention the fact that a rent-a-cop ain't no cop, and they do get sued from time to time over their abusive tactics. As much as I support the developer for protecting their rights, I feel they did it sneakily instead of being honest and upfront with Sony and demanding payment in writing, rather than raiding someone's offices in retaliation.
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