| Wednesday April 23rd 2014

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Sony BMG’s hypocrisy: company busted for using warez


sonybmg.jpg Sony BMG is no stranger to piracy. As one of the most vocal supporters of the RIAA and IFPI antipiracy efforts, the company has some experience hunting down and punishing consumers who don’t pay for its products. The company is getting some experience on the other side of the table, however, now that it’s being sued for software piracy.

PointDev, a French software company that makes Windows administration tools, received a call from a Sony BMG IT employee for support. After Sony BMG supplied a pirated license code for Ideal Migration, one of PointDev’s products, the software maker was able to mandate a seizure of Sony BMG’s assets. The subsequent raid revealed that software was illegally installed on four of Sony BMG’s servers. The Business Software Alliance, however, believes that up to 47 percent of the software installed on Sony BMG’s computers could be pirated.

These are some pretty serious—not to mention ironic—allegations against a company that’s gone so far as to install malware on consumers’ computers in the name of preventing piracy.

While PointDev is claiming €300,000 (over $475,000) in damages in its suit against Sony BMG, Agustoni Paul-Henry, PointDev’s CEO, says (from a Google translation of a French report) that this is more about principle than money: “We are forced to watch every week if key software pirates are not [sic] on the Internet. We are a small company of six employees. Instead of trying to protect us, we could spend this time to develop ourselves.”

Paul-Henry thinks Sony BMG’s piracy of PointDev’s products is the fault of more than just a single employee (again, translated): “I think piracy is linked to the policy of a company. If the employee has the necessary funding to buy the software he needs, he will. If this is not the case, he will find alternative ways, as the work must be done in one way or another.”

Certainly, one wonders what led to Sony BMG to steal PointDev’s product in the first place. It’s a safe bet that the company can afford to pay for the necessary licenses, which leaves sheer laziness as the most likely culprit. In any event, it’s absolutely inexcusable for a company that has been at the forefront of the antipiracy fight, going so far as to surreptitiously install rootkits on its customers’ PCs.

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