Sony BMG caught with pirated software

April 1, 2008 | 05:14

Tags: #drm #irony #piracy #pirate #pirated #sony-bmg

Companies: #sony

Music publisher Sony BMG has found out what it's like to be on the other side of copyright law, and stand accused of piracy by a French software house.

PointDev, the French company which develops tools for administering Windows servers, was contacted by a Sony BMG employee looking for technical support on Ideal Migration, one of the company's products aimed at IT consolidation and centralised management. When asked for a licence key, the unnamed employee provided one known to have been leaked to the Internet and used in pirated installations. Which shows a certain amount of cheek – not to mention a stunning level of stupidity.

PointDev used this information to get the courts to grant a seizure order against Sony BMG's assets. The bailiffs hired by PointDev found that its software was illegally installed on four servers owned by the music publisher.

Accordingly, PointDev owner Paul-Henry Agustoni is looking for €300,000 in damages from the music publisher. Agustoni believes that the piracy might date back as far as 2004, when Sony acquired what was then the Bertelsmann Music Group, a time when consolidation software Ideal Migration would unquestionably have come in handy.

Agustoni believes that it wasn't just a one-off, either. In a statement to press he claimed that the piracy was likely due to “the company policy,” saying that employees tasked with high workloads and low budgets will “find alternative means, because work has to be done one way or another.

It's not without a certain amount of irony that Sony BMG finds itself on the other end of the lawyers: the company has been known to make some questionable decisions in order to protect their own intellectual property from infringement, to the extent of creating a rootkit which infected the systems of people audacious enough to think they should be allowed to play their legally purchased audio CDs on their computers.

So far, Sony BMG has remained quiet on the whole embarrassing episode: the more cynical amongst you may draw the conclusion that the company has started the search for a scapegoat. Even should that succeed, there's no denying that the company has lost valuable moral ground in a time when it was finally starting to regain what it had lost before ticking people off with invasive DRM.

Do you believe that companies should get their own house in order before chasing alleged pirates, or is Agustoni making a mountain out of a molehill? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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