Der Schockwellenreiter tells all about the perils of automating cease-and-desist letters. It seems that Münster University got such a letter from the BSA, regarding their distribution of “unlicensed copies of copyrighted material” through their FTP server.

As it happens, the offending material was Open Office, an Open Source package. Here are copies of the letter and responses; the BSA subsequently apologized, blaming an automated script for reacting to the word “office” (not yet a Microsoft trademark).

Update: Boing Boing picked up the link.

Update: lots of interesting comments at the Boing Boing discussion board, including one by Ned Richards, one of the OpenOffice project leads:

Yes we think its cool that the BSA believe we’re completely compatible with MS Office. 🙂

…We’re obviously worried that this might harass our mirrors, our most important means of distribution.

… We haven’t yet heard of any further reports of this occuring, obviously we’d treat them with the utmost seriousness.