This is a follow-up article to the “What to do about the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does case (TX)” article I wrote last week.
I did a bit more digging into the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does 1-100 (Case No. 4:16-cv-01422) lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and I learned more about their software, and more about where some of the John Doe defendants are coming from. What I also learned was that this is not the first time they have sued defendants for copyright infringement.
The Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (“PLM”) software being sued over is known as the Siemens NX software.
According to Wikipedia, “NX, formerly known as NX Unigraphics or usually just UG, is an advanced high-end CAD/CAM/CAE software package originally developed by Unigraphics, but since 2007 by Siemens PLM Software… NX is a direct competitor to TopSolid, CATIA, Creo, Autodesk Inventor, and SolidWorks.”
The Pirate Bay shows 9 torrent files for “Siemens NX” software (below).
Surprisingly, for version 9, there are only 3 seeders (uploaders). For all others, there is only one seeder. For a program that takes on average 1GB-5.7GB to download, a download like this could take forever to complete.
Looking at version 10 (the current stable release; version 11.2 is probably a fake), there is one seeder (uploader) and one leecher (downloader). See attached.
As dry as this post may be, the point is that my suspicions were correct — even though the bittorrent file provides a serial number (probably a valid, but likely an OLD registration code), and even though there is an “activator” which modifies or “cracks” the pirated file to allow the software to accept the old serial number [it likely does this by blocking the “authentication” feature when the software checks with the server to verify the registration key], the software looks to the user as if he has successfully registered the software.
However, through the normal use of the software, the activator software is likely not persistent, which means that after the software is registered using the old key, it restores the software’s executable (.exe) file to its original state. Then, when using the software, it connects to Siemens’ servers for whatever purpose (to download an update, to check for new features, etc.), and this is how their copyright enforcement / IT department can identify the IP address of the individual using a pirated copy of the software.
In sum, what this means is that Robert Riddle and the Siemens copyright holder likely knows how long the software has been in use, and which IP addresses have been using an old or invalid serial number. This will likely be a consideration when discussing the matter with the plaintiff attorneys on behalf of my clients.
What all this means for you — 1) June 22nd appears to be the date that Comcast will be ordered to hand over the names and addresses of the 100 accused John Doe defendants, so there is no anonymity and the John Doe defendants will be exposed to being named and served as defendants in the lawsuit. 2) If you have been using the software, they likely know more details than you would like as to what you have been doing with it. 3) Speak to an attorney (me, or anyone else) about what options you have to get out of this, whether you were the downloader, the purchaser (of a pirated copy of the software), or whether you have absolutely no idea why you have been implicated as being one of the John Doe defendants in this case.