A $596 million lawsuit claims that the U.S. Navy has engaged in software piracy. The suit against the U.S. Government, filed by Bitmanagement Software, alleges that the Navy copied and installed the company's virtual reality software on hundreds of thousands of computers for which it does not have a license. In 2011 and 2012 Bitmanagement agreed to license its BS Contact Geo software to the Navy on "a limited and experimental" basis, according to court documents. The Navy was authorized to install the software on just 38 computers for testing, trial runs and integration with other Navy systems, the documents say. To facilitate testing and "in preparation for the large scale licensing desired by the Navy" Bitmanagement removed the control mechanism that tracked and limited use of the software. The Navy decided that it would deploy the software on a larger scale and began negotiations for the purchase of "numerous" additional licenses, according to the suit, which was filed July 15. "While those negotiations were ongoing, however, and without Bitmanagment's advance knowledge or consent, the Navy installed BS Contact Geo software onto hundreds of thousands of computers," the documents say. "Bitmanagement did not license or otherwise authorize these uses of its software, and the Navy has never compensated Bitmanagement for these uses of Bitmanagement's software."
The lawsuit alleges that the software has been deployed on at least 558,466 Navy computers and says it is likely that unauthorized copying has taken place on an even larger scale. BS Contact Geo enables the visualization of geographic information, according to Berg, Germany-based Bitmanagement. The software lets users visualize a "virtual military base," according to court documents. "It is extremely concerning to us that the Navy duplicated and deployed our proprietary commercial computer software without first agreeing to a software license agreement," said Bitmanagement, in a statement emailed to FoxNews.com. "We regret that it became necessary to initiate legal action in order to preserve our right to be paid for our software. Nonetheless, we will continue to seek a mutually beneficial resolution that both compensates us for our software while supporting the operations of our valued customer." "Due to this case being an open litigation, it would be inappropriate for the Navy to provide comment on its proceedings at this time," a Navy spokesman told FoxNews.com. The Department of Justice has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story from FoxNews.com.