Sony BMG Caught Pirating Software

from the funny-how-that-works dept

Wouldn't you know it? The organizations who scream the loudest about how unauthorized copies are "theft" and how "piracy" is destroying their industries are just as likely to get caught making unauthorized copies themselves. In the past, for example, we've pointed out that the MPAA was using software in an unauthorized manner, and also that it had made unauthorized copies of a movie, against the demands of the movie's producer. Now, we find out (via Slashdot) that Sony BMG has been caught in a BSA raid with a ton of unauthorized software -- potentially up to 47% of the software at the offices. Now, I tend to think that BSA raids are highly questionable, but if it's true that Sony BMG is using unauthorized software, the company has some explaining to do. It's one of the major labels and has been a huge supporter of the RIAA's "anti-piracy" campaign. For a company so adamantly against piracy, it seems rather telling that it can't live up to its own standards. Considering the RIAA has been pushing for Congress to increase the statutory fines for copyright infringement, perhaps Sony would like to set a good example and pay at the high end of the range?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Joseph Durnal, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 6:12am

    It sure would be neat to see the BSA go after them for the maximum statutory fine for each infringement and to hear the defense. I bet a secret deal is already being worked out.

     

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  2.  
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    Thom, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 6:21am

    Fines relative

    If these companies are going to buy laws to protect their poor business practices then they can afford to pay fines relative to their net worth. If it's fair to force Joe American to pay $50K for piracy then Corporate America should face a $50M fine - they've got the money to pay it, the money to have bought the software to start with and the internal checks and balances to prevent the theft if they wanted.

     

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  3.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Mar 31st, 2008 @ 6:43am

    Will the Public Ever Learn of this Hypocrisy?

    I routinely see TV news reporters throw in spurious comments about the economic "damage" of piracy to keep this concept on the public's consciousness. I assume most of these comments are actually "planted" by the content industry through the so-called press releases that are simply regurgitated by the media.

    I seriously doubt any of these news anchors will even hear of this or even consider it newsworthy enough to report on. How unfortunate that the hypocrisy will go unreported.

    At least there is a bit of irony in the BSA going after Sony BMG. I am reminded of a lawyer joke about professional courtesy. Seems that the BSA would give Sony BMG a professional pass.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonomous, Of Course, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 6:48am

    Happy Birthday dear Sony BMG....

    Are these the guys who own "Happy Birthday"? Because if it is, I swear, no amount of money is going to reverse the costs you owe me. If you are going to cancel birthdays for all school children, the only acceptable payment will be the tears of 1,000 crying children. Not just any children, oh no sir.. The children of your own kid's school and neighborhood.

    Someone's got to audit the guys who own "Happy Birthday."

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:06am

    This is obviously a free pass to steal music.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:06am

    Sony IT Guy speaking about Outlook and Windows installed after the BSA left:
    "Why yes sir, I suppose you could think of it as a Rootkit."

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:10am

    They Obviously...

    are a "Terrorist" supporting organization. Now part of the Axis of Evil.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:11am

    The irony here is almost too good to be true. If they are infringing you can bet this will all get settled outside of the courts. There's no way BMG is going to court to defend using pirated software because that will undermine their own position on piracy. However, I hope they get bitten by their own draconian fine structure. It would be poetic justice.

     

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  9.  
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    nushustu, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:16am

    Re: Fines relative

    Thom: I think your number is a tad low. When you consider that paying 50,000 would literally put Joe American in the poorhouse, Sony ought to be made to pay something closer to 50 BILLION. It's a completely absurd number, sure, but then so are the fines that individuals have been hit with.

     

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  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:17am

    I'm also never particularly confident about the accuracy of the BSA's raids, but...

    The thing is, if Sony BMG can't keep its own house clean, it'll have a very tough time prosecuting other people for IP and licence infringment. So far it's protested on a "high moral ground" (even though most RIAA groups have problems paying their own artists properly). This will hopefully remove that argument so the cases have to be argued on their own merits. Which are flimsy at best.

    It'll be fun seeing how they fight these claims. Do they give in and pay up (most likely if they have any sense)? Or do they fight either the dollar amount being claimed or the level of unauthorised software found? Either of the latter will put BMG into a deliciously similar position to the customer they themselves sue.

     

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  11.  
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    World Peace And Prosperity Mandate, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:19am

    Sony BMG Caught Pirating Software

    I guess they have never heard the saying "Those who live in a glass house should not be throwing stones at others"

     

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  12.  
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    rbb, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:21am

    I'm sure the BSA will follow the RIAA/MPAA model of keeping all the money won in court instead of actually giving it back to the original artists... These organizations, like trial lawyers, don't give a damn about their clients. It's all about the money.

     

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  13.  
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    Josh, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:40am

    Made an example of...

    What I found amusing was the part saying that the company is not interested in an amicable settlement. They want to make an example of Sony, just like the RIAA cases.

     

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  14.  
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    Derek (profile), Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:48am

    Your article is misleading!!

    "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."

    That is part of the article you are referring to, nowhere does it say that the Sony BMG pirates 47% of the stuff they use. I hate those people too, but writing misleading articles is lame. I am pretty sure the 47% is BS anyway.

     

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  15.  
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    mastmaker, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:56am

    Sony just have to turn around and send RIAA/MPAA sniffing dogs to the homes of BSA bigwigs for illegal music and movies.

    Then they can fight each other in court to death....


    And the rest of the world lived happily ever after.

     

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  16.  
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    Derek (profile), Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Re: Your article is misleading!!

    Ok, sorry, i guess it is not that misleading, the one article you linked on Slashdot said that, the other one said different, who to trust?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:05am

    Re: Your article is misleading!!

    "According to the Business Software Alliance, a association of the major publishers in the market, 47% of programs used in the company would be unlawfully in France ..."

    And

    "Essentially, the PointDev CEO says that the BSA has said that Sony has a software piracy rate of 47%."

    I think Mike is valid is stating "potentially up to 47% of the software at the offices" since he seems to be paraphrasing the previous quotes.

     

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  18.  
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    Greg, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:12am

    You don't understand...

    These IP laws are just for you individuals, not our valiant corporations defending the free market system. At least they have hordes of lawyers to prevent any damage from this injustice. Unlike you.

     

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  19.  
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    Amaress, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:14am

    Re: Sony BMG Caught Pirating Software

    People in glass houses sink ships.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    bored, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:35am

    Irony, it's a bitch sometimes.
    And it's actually :People who live in glass houses shall not throw stones: & Loose lips sink ships.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:43am

    RAPE THEM LIKE THEY DO US!

     

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  22.  
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    James, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 9:00am

    HAHAHAHA!!

    HAHAHAHA!! THIS IS THE FUNNIEST THING I'VE READ ALL DAY!! LMAO

     

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  23.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Mar 31st, 2008 @ 9:01am

    BSA raid FTW!

    you know they were ratted out by a disgruntled IT guy :-)

    sure BSA raids are so much BS, but it's great when villains turn on each other.

     

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  24.  
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    Clint, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 9:26am

    Spitzered

    Sony BMG sould have to stand up in front of the press with it's wife and admit it's mistakes. Then apologize, step down and go into rehab.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Sony BMG Caught Pirating Software

    And don't cross the road if you can't get out of the kitchen.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Pete Valle, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 10:13am

    "by mastmaker on Mar 31st, 2008 @ 7:56am

    Sony just have to turn around and send RIAA/MPAA sniffing dogs to the homes of BSA bigwigs for illegal music and movies.

    Then they can fight each other in court to death...."


    That made my day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Jon, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Sony BMG Caught Pirating Software

    I got to buy you a proverb book or something, because this mix 'n' match shit's got to go.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    rhsc, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 10:26am

    Mike: while this sounds legit, I'd recommend you doubt anything coming from slashdot for the next couple of days since it's so close to April Fools Day

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 10:47am

    Sony will brush this under the rug like all the other bad crap they do and the public will still buy their products.

     

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  30.  
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    PRMan, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 11:16am

    Article details

    First, the article states that the BSA estimates that 47% of corporations in France use illegal software.

    Second, they were actually turned in innocently to PointDev by an employee that called tech support after being assured that the software was legal.

    PointDev had no record of Sony as a client.

    The BSA should be forced to turn over the license fee value to the original corporation. If they want to keep the "penalties", that's OK by me but otherwise, they are just a better, more well-connected thief.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 12:13pm

    You know the BSA..

    has it's own share of unauthorized (stolen) software on it's company machines. I dson't think there is a business around with 100% compliance. You can't stop all end users.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Etch, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Spitzered

    Don't forget, after Sony steps down, another company will take its place, and it, along with its own wife, will admit from the get go that they've both already pirated software behind each others back and that they dealt with it and are ready to move on!

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    I love it. Greedy content industry morons going after other greedy content industry morons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    John, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 5:11pm

    People and corporations

    Unfortunately, there is a huge difference between individual people getting caught and a large corporation getting caught.

    If a person is accused (only accused) by the RIAA, the maximum fine could be $50,000 or more. The choices faced by the person are:
    1) Hire a lawyer and fight it, which will probably drain his savings.
    2) Work a deal with the RIAA for a settlement. He gives them $2,500, they don't go to court, and the RIAA claims another "victory over pirates".

    If a corporation is accused, they just whip out their corporate attorneys. They can afford to pay their attorneys $5 million or $10 million if it will save them from having to pay $50 million in fines.
    Heck, they'll pay that much just to keep a case like this out of the press!

     

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  35.  
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    Lucretious, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 6:22pm

    is it wrong to be sporting an erection over this story?

     

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  36.  
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    Rekrul, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 2:01am

    My only questions is; Why didn't the BSA confiscate every single computer in the building, every CD, every DVD, everything even remotely related to computers, like they do when there's a raid on a company or person accused of violating the RIAA/MPAA's copyrights? They should have gutted the place and then refused to return the equipment for at least a couple years.

     

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  37.  
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    BTR1701, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 5:08am

    Raids

    What authority does the BSA have to conduct a raid on a business in the first place?

    My business is my private property. If the BSA shows up and wants to "raid" me, I'd just tell them to take a hike. It's not like they're actual cops or anything. They certainly don't have a warrant or any other cumpulsory legal process.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Gary, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 8:25am

    regulation scmegulation

    So BTR1701. According to your logic... if you are running a dope ring in NYC on site at your very own legit delivery company (example)... then the fed has absolutely no right to interfere with your 'operations' because it is 'private property'?

    Of course the fed would have every right and power to raid such a business as there is illegal activity on the premises.

    The fed has the right to regulate and monitor businesses. Ever hear of monitoring and regulation? If you don't like regulation, then pick up a bag of crunchy snacks from Zimbabwe and not think once about sanitary conditions the product was produced in, or what contaminants it contains.

    Regulation, schmegulation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 3:34pm

    Re: regulation scmegulation

    Hey BSA Gary,
    Here's a clue for you: Unlike the BSA, the feds DO have actual cops. That's the difference (although the BSA likes to think otherwise).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 3:35pm

    No Honor?

    What, is there no honor among thieves?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Glenn Isaac, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 3:40pm

    Hypocrisy is not Evidence

    Because employees of Sony are hypocrites does not prove that the position of their company on piracy is wrong. Yes, I believe that its position is wrong, but ethical attacks like the types Sony uses (including the illegality/appeal to authority argument) are uber-fallacious and detract a bit from the intellectual meat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 1:19am

    Because employees of Sony are hypocrites does not prove that the position of their company on piracy is wrong.


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the RIAA argued that even if copyright infringement is committed by a child, the parent should be responsible since they own the computer? So why shouldn't the entire company be held responsible for the actions of a few employees?

    Better yet, the movie and music industry want the Pro-IP act passed, which provides for the confiscation of any and all equipment used in the commission of copyright infringement. (in the USA, a conviction is NOT required in order to seize assets), so shouldn't they have all their servers confiscated?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 5:19pm

    Re: regulation scmegulation

    > According to your logic... if you are running a dope ring in
    > NYC on site at your very own legit delivery company (example)...
    > then the fed has absolutely no right to interfere with your
    > 'operations' because it is 'private property'?

    That's not my logic at all. The federal government has legal authority. Of course the government has the legal right to raid private property (assuming they have a properly executed search warrant). But the Business Software Alliance (BSA) is not a government agency. It's an association of businesses. They don't have any more right to show up and "raid" me than you do.

    > The fed has the right to regulate and monitor businesses.

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the BSA is part of the government. It's not a part of the government anymore than the RIAA or the MPAA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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