The Financial Times is suing the Blackstone Group for the shared multiple use of a single online subscription.
The newspaper has alleged the private equity firm shared a username and password to avoid paying for multiple accounts, and claimed that a senior Blackstone employee distributed login information to other employees.
The suit, filed in a federal court in Manhattan, claimed that the account accessed thousands of individual articles between February 2006 and June 2008.
Online subscriptions to the financial newspaper cost $179 to $299 a year and FT.com offers three articles per month free of charge, and up to ten per month with a free registration. Certain features are only available through a premium online subscription, including the Lex column.
Ansgar Dodt, director at SafeNet EMEA, said: “Failure to track license usage leaves companies at risk of hefty fines and bad PR – as Blackstone has found out to its cost.
“With staff using a single account to access thousands of articles, the company is in breach of its license agreement as each user should have their own account and individual log in details. Whether or not senior management were aware of the password sharing, it should and could have been prevented.
“Greater communication is needed between providers of software asset management, used to track license usage, and end users. Companies need to know that tools are available to help them behave legitimately. Failing to provide this, suing those who do not comply, is unhelpful and bad for business.”