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U.S. Army pays out $50m in software piracy suit

The U.S. Army has paid out $50m to settle a software piracy suit after it was discovered to be running thousands of unauthorized program installations. Apptricity, which has been working with the army since 2004, filed the suit in February 2012 and had been looking for $224.5m in damages for copyright infringement.

The software developed by Texas-based Apptricity is used by the U.S. Army to manage the logistics of moving troops and supplies all across the globe. It is also utilized in planning emergency relief efforts that the army is involved in, such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster.

The initial deal signed between the parties was for three servers and 500 individual workstations. By 2008, Apptricity had begun to notice that its software was being used more extensively — the company later learned the unauthorized use amounted to around 100 servers and 9,000 individual devices. After several meetings with officials, Apptricity filed its suit in February 2012.

While the payment is less than Apptricity was claiming, the company has confirmed the figure represents “a multiple of our annual revenues” and will be invested in future software development. The U.S. Army will continue to use Apptricity’s logistics software solutions and it would seem the two parties are still on speaking terms.

In a statement on the Apptricity website, CEO Tim Garcia had this to say: “Field commanders were focused on the mission-critical nature of Apptricity software and the need to protect warfighters and facilitate mission objectives. Our battle-tested integrated logistics software performed so well that it went viral.”

“Now that this process is behind us, it is envisioned the Apptricity and Army relationship will continue to grow exponentially,” added retired Major General Tim McHale, one of Apptricity’s senior advisors. Neither the U.S. Army or the Justice Department have commented on the settlement at the time of writing.

Garcia is hoping relationships continue to improve with his company’s biggest client. “What you have is two parties that basically need each other,” he told Dallas News. “We recognize that you are dealing with people’s lives in areas where most of us have never even been to. So there was a realization that a mistake had been made, and it needed to be fixed. It’s like a marriage. Sometimes you really don’t want to be around each other, but it doesn’t mean you are going to break it off.”

[Image courtesy of Aekkaphob / Shutterstock]