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When the US government said the sequester would cripple its ability to single-handedly rule over the world, it wasn’t kidding. Either that, or Joe Biden’s Joint Strategic Plan to “curb” copyright infringement was just a case of very confused humor by the vice president gone badly wrong, and he meant to “encourage.” Whatever the reason, the fact that the Obama administration was just busted with a $50 million case of software piracy involving none other than the US Army, is indicative that while the Bureau of Labor Statistics was adopting all the best features of the Chinese Department of Truth, the US government was busy copycatting China’s respectful approach toward intellectual property. Yet what is even worse, is that the software that was pirated managed the US army’s troop and supply movements: in other words, the US government relied on pirated software to prepare for and engage in eventual war.
Specifically, the army “used Apptricity’s integrated transportation logistics and asset management software across the Middle East and other theaters of operation. The Army has also used the software to coordinate emergency management initiatives, including efforts following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.”
Here’s what happened, as reported by RT: in 2004, Apptricity agreed with the US Army to license the troop-movement software, allowing the government to use it on five servers and 150 standalone devices. What happened instead is that the Army proceeded to use the softward around the world. “The improper installation of thousands of unlicensed copies of software was discovered incidentally, when the US Army Program Director said during Strategic Capabilities Planning 2009 that thousands of devices had Apptricity software.”
Ultimately, 93 servers and over 9,000 standalone devices of the Army had the unlicensed software. Apptricity figured it was owed US$224 million based on usual fees of US$1.35 million per server and US$5,000 per device.
Upon discovering just how vast the US government piracy stretched Apptricity sued the government, accusing the US military of willful copyright infringement. It won, and the government went on to admit the illegal use and entered into lengthy negotiations with Apptricity to settle. The cost to the Obama administration from being caught in the act: $50 million in damages.
RT does a great summary of yet another instance of remarkable hypocrisy by the “most transparent administration ever.”
While the Obama administration’s has launched efforts against intellectual property theft – including the Joint Strategic Plan run by Vice President Joe Biden that aims to curb copyright infringement – the US Army was concurrently using pirated Apptricity enterprise software that manages troop and supply movements.
The Administration has yet to comment on the settlement. But Biden’s words upon announcing the federal anti-copyright-infringement plan ring clear.
“Piracy is theft, clean and simple.”
Even when it was your subordinates that engaged in theft? Surely someone’s hand will be slapped, right? But one can be absolutely certain: neither Biden nor Obama “had any idea”…
What was not mentioned anywhere, however, is just how the US government spent the hundreds of millions in appropriated funds, because it is guaranteed that the Army was allotted the full mandated amount by Congress to purchase every single piece of Apptricity software it would ever need. And still somehow $200 million disappeared. Of course in any non-banana republic, a legal system might inquire in whose pockets this excess cash ended up. Which of course means that in the US nobody will even consider this eventuality, especially since Ben Bernanke prints that amount in roughly 5 minutes every day.
Finally, one wonders: what would happen if in the middle of a Syrian (or any other) war suddenly the US army was halted dead in its tracks when HQ got a flashing red “Your 30 Day trial period has expired. Please insert activation code now” notification. We can only hope US drone command didn’t get its copy of “Blow Up Innocent Women And Children From 10,000 Miles Away Ver 1.0” on the Moscow black market.