RECORD label Sony BMG, one of the most vocal and ferocious opponents of music piracy, has been accused of using unlawfully installed programs on its computers by a small software company.
French company PointDev, which makes applications for Microsoft Windows, claims to have discovered pirated versions of its software installed on Sony BMG computers and is suing the label for €300,000 ($514,910).
PointDev said it was alerted to the illegal software after a Sony BMG employee rang the software company's technical support number for assistance and gave a pirated product key when asked for a customer number, French website 01net reported.
A raid on the French offices of Sony BMG in January revealed that almost half of the software used by the company may be unlawfully installed, according to the report.
The story was first reported in English by file-sharing website ZeroPaid and has since done the rounds on technology blogs, where authors and readers jumped to point out the irony of Sony BMG being sued for piracy.
The record label has become infamous among the online community for its zealous pursuit of people accused of illegally sharing music. It has brought or threatened up to 26,000 lawsuits against individuals, according to media and marketing website MediaPost.
In 2005, Sony BMG caused a security scare by using a malicious form of digital rights management (DRM) on certain discs sold in the US. Sony suspended this form of DRM shortly after Microsoft defined it as "spyware", or spying software.
Sony BMG is one of the “big four” record labels that fund anti-piracy watchdogs the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Earlier this year, the IFPI was forced to cut costs under pressure from major record labels.
Local watchdog Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) says about 18 per cent of Australia's population are involved in illegally trading songs by email or peer-to-peer file transfers. Sony BMG Australia did not respond to a request for comment on the PointDev lawsuit.