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?

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Companies: bsa, sony bmg

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Comments on “Sony BMG Caught Pirating Software”

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43 Comments
Thom says:

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.

Steve R. (profile) says:

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.

Anonomous, Of Course says:

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.”

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

PaulT (profile) says:

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.

Derek (profile) says:

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.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

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.

PRMan (profile) says:

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.

John (profile) says:

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!

Rekrul says:

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.

Gary says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Rekrul says:

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?

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