You know we're in a deep recession when even billionaire financiers can't afford to pay for subscriptions to the Financial Times. In what will go down as one of the more bizarre (and unintentionally hilarious) lawsuits we've seen in quite some time, the newspaper filed a lawsuit against Steve Schwarzman's Blackstone Group on Wednesday for sharing an FT username and password instead of setting up separate accounts for its employees. Yes, an unknown "senior employee" at the colossal private equity firm "authorized the initiation and repeated renewal of an individual, personal subscription to FT.com" and then distributed the login details to company employees so they could all join in on the fun. (The court documents list the username as "theblackstonegroup" and the password as "blackstone," although FT says it has since "disabled the credentials to mitigate damages.")
Officials at the FT became a bit suspicious when they realized a very industrious Blackstone employee was accessing thousands of articles a day; a subsequent investigation turned up evidence Blackstone had been engaged in the fraud since as far back as 2002. The FT is now suing Blackstone for copyright infringement and violation of the computer fraud and abuse act. The company didn't disclose how much they're seeking from Schwarzman's firm. It's probably safe to say it would have been cheaper for Blackstone to have coughed up the $179 a year that it costs to buy an online subscription. The full suit below!