While the irony isn’t lost on most people, the only humor in this story is that it’s a well-known and widely respected navy that has been accused of piracy. The US Navy has been served with a federal lawsuit by a German software company after more than half a million instances of illegal copying and piracy.

us navy

The eleven page legal filing outlines how the Navy entered into an agreement for virtual reality software from Bitmanagement Software. The 3D VR software, BS Contact Geo, was originally supposed to be installed on the computers, but the licensing discussion fell apart somewhere and was never completed. The lawsuit alleges that the Navy simply went ahead with copying their own versions of the purchased software, then installed it on over 558,000 computers without entering into the licensing agreement, or more importantly, paying for that licensing.

According to the suit, “In 2011 and 2012, Bitmanagement agreed to license its software to the Navy on a limited and experimental basis. Those individual PC-based licenses authorized the Navy to install BS Contact Geo on a total of just 38 computers for the purposes of testing, trial runs, and integration into Navy systems. In order to facilitate such testing and integration of the software on Navy computers in preparation for the large scale licensing desired by the Navy, it was necessary for Bitmanagement to remove the control mechanism that tracked and limited the use of the software.”

But the Navy didn’t stop with those 38 computers, and when word reached Bitmanagement from a Navy official that over half a million computers were now running the copied software, the company filed a suit for the cost of the license on that many machines, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees. The suit is for nearly $600 million for the fraudulent use alone, and could add even more should Bitmanagement be awarded the lost revenue from interest they would have earned and the associated legal fees.