Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sharing Online Password Leads to Lawsuit

The Financial Times is suing the Blackstone Group for the repeated use of a single online password. FT is also suing current and/or former employees of Blackstone "who have used the account credentials of another person" as John Does 1 through 100. The suit alleges violation of the Computer Fraud Abuse Act and copyright infringement.

The Financial Times was first published in 1888. It is the British rival of the Wall Street Journal. Subscriptions to its website are priced from $179 to $299 per year and its website receives 72 million unique hits each month.

Blackstone is a $116 billion equity firm. The complaint calls it a "global financial enterprise." The complaint alleges that a senior employee in its finance and compliance division authorized the initiation and repeated renewal of a single individual subscription. The complaint alleges that multiple employees used the sole username and password to access a "massive" amount of subscription articles described as "more than an individual would normally access." The username was "theblackstonegroup" and the password was "blackstone." (d'oh!)

The suit asks for actual damages, statutory damages, compensatory damages, and attorneys' fees. Here's the complaint.

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