NSW police commission exits copyright suit

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NSW police commission exits copyright suit

Micro Focus case boils to two respondents.

One of the three NSW state policing bodies facing allegations of copyright infringement by US software vendor Micro Focus has escaped litigation in the Federal Court.

The NSW Police Integrity Commission (PIC) had, along with the NSW Police Force and NSW Ombudsman, faced allegations that it infringed copyright by installing more instances of Micro Focus' software than was covered under a license agreement.

The commission was alleged to have installed 47 copies of the software onto computers without license.

Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot granted Micro Focus' legal counsel leave to file a notice of discontinuation against the commission earlier this month.

A commission spokesman said that the parties had reached terms of agreement but would not disclose what they were.

A Micro Focus spokesman had not responded by the time of publication.

The commission's departure from the case left just the NSW Police Force and NSW Ombudsman to face the charges.

Micro Focus alleged it initially struck a deal with the NSW Police Force for 6500 licenses but that the Force had installed 16,000 copies of its ViewNow software on computers between 2003 and 2010.

In addition, licenses had allegedly been installed at agencies connected to the force.

Apart from the commission, which had now escaped charges, the ombudsman allegedly had 25 computers with the software installed.

All three departments used the software to connect to the NSW Police's Computerised Operations Policing System (COPS), a centralised database containing all day-to-day operating information for police investigations.

The Ombudsman had previously failed in its attempt to claim immunity from the proceedings.

Despite judgment against it in July, the Ombudsman continued its defensive, denying it had infringed Micro Focus' copyright and that it was liable for damages in the suit.

The department admitted to not purchasing licenses for use of ViewNow, but claimed NSW Police had agreed to fund the upgrade of the COPS, which included use of the ViewNow software, from July 2007.

NSW Police admitted to providing copies of the ViewNow software to third party agencies - including RailCorp and the Office of Fair Trading - but argued it did so under license.

Other third party agencies using their own licenses of ViewNow to access the COPS database included the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Roads and Traffic Authority.

Micro Focus argued the Police Force had "unclean hands and is barred from obtaining any equitable relief".

A further directions hearing was scheduled for September.

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