Revealed: Defence under fire over software

Summary:An audit report obtained by ZDNet Australia reveals the extent of the allegations laid against the Department of Defence and the Commonwealth Government in the intellectual property infringement case currently before the Federal Court of New South Wales, with tens of thousands of installs found that Defence allegedly had no licences for.

exclusive An audit report obtained by ZDNet Australia reveals the extent of the allegations laid against the Department of Defence and the Commonwealth Government in the intellectual property infringement case currently before the Federal Court of New South Wales, with tens of thousands of installs found that Defence allegedly had no licences for.

The case centres around Defence's use of five pieces of Attachmate software in the "Extra!" product family of emulation software. Attachmate sold Defence 8000 licences for a package of software, including Extra! Personal Client 6.5, Extra! for Windows 5.20 and Extra! TCP Bundle Version, as well as Reflection for HP version 4.2, enterprise Access Object Software and KEA! 420.

In the licensing agreement, Defence agreed to use each copy on one computer at a time, transfer software between computers no more than once every 30 days and to not copy the software.

Attachmate had independent auditors from KPMG prepare a report in November 2009, which revealed that Defence was using tens of thousands of copies of the software that it had no licences for.

Previous hearings of this case have seen lawyers for the two parties speculate on how many licences were infringed upon, but the report is now out in the open after ZDNet Australia today fought a court order that attempted to keep the contents of the audit confidential.

According to a confidential annexure of KPMG's report, Defence had:

  • Reproduced the Extra 6.5 software on one or more network servers such that the Extra 6.5 software was capable of being accessed and used from 65,328 computing devices, in circumstances where such reproduction was not permitted by the SLA
  • Reproduced the Extra 6.5 software on 10,471 personal computers, in circumstances where only 8000 of the reproductions were permitted by the SLA
  • Reproduced the Extra 5.2 software (or an earlier version of this software) on 26 personal computers, in circumstances where, to the best of Attachmate's knowledge, Defence did not have any licence from Attachmate to reproduce the Extra 5.2 software (or an earlier version of this software)
  • Reproduced the Extra 6.3 software on four personal computers, in circumstances where, to the best of Attachmate's knowledge, Defence did not have any licence from Attachmate to reproduce the Extra 6.3 software (or an earlier version of this software)
  • Reproduced the KEA software on 26 personal computers, in circumstances where, to the best of Attachmate's knowledge, Defence did not have any licence from Attachmate to reproduce the KEA software
  • Reproduced the Reflection software on one personal computer, in circumstances where, to the best of Attachmate's knowledge, Defence did not have any licence from Attachmate to reproduce the Reflection software
  • Reproduced the EAO software on 1222 personal computers, in circumstances where, to the best of Attachmate's knowledge, Defence did not have any licence from Attachmate to reproduce the EAO software.

All in all, the KPMG report indicates that Defence may have reproduced software, against Attachmate's licences, as many as 77,078 times, when only 8000 licences were conferred under the original agreement.

Attachmate sought answers from Defence over the huge number of unlicensed software that KPMG discovered.

Defence admitted that it had installed Extra 6.5 on "an undisclosed number of machines" in order to access a UNIX server application, while installing the same software on 23 "silo" computers accessible from an infinite number of virtual machines across the Defence network.

The intellectual property infringement case is potentially embarrassing to the Commonwealth Government, given its strong anti-piracy push, which includes the recent signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting and Trade Agreement.

The case between Attachmate and Defence is set to go back before a court in February next year.

Topics: Government, Government : AU, Legal, Piracy, Security

About

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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