FAST spearheads piracy crackdown

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FAST spearheads piracy crackdown

Microscope contributor


As the dust settles on a series of surveys and predictions about the future of software piracy the overall conclusion for the channel appears to be that things are going to get worse.

On the one hand Microsoft has paid IDC to come up with a figure that puts a number to the number lost to resellers as a result of piracy. But only days later the vendor was warning that youngsters are more prepared to buy counterfeit with a quarter of the 11-16 year olds asked happy to admit to opting for fake goods.

At the same time the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) raised the spectre that as a result of tough economic times more company directors would run the risk of using unlicensed software.

FAST showed its determination to catch those company directors hoping to save money on their software bills by announcing a pilot scheme with Trading Standards in Cardiff to take advantage of changes to the law that allow stronger protection of intellectual property.

Overall the picture created by the various surveys is that piracy currently costs resellers $5.50 through lost revenue but there are more people prepared to cut corners to save money and a generation not bothered about legitimate product.

John Lovelock, chief executive of the Federation, said that it was taking an approach of offering advice and education but ultimately those that flaunted the law would have to face the consequences ranging from fines to possible prison terms.

Others in the industry fighting the issue also expressed a fear that a combination of opportunism and disinterest could fuel an increase in piracy.

“I’m quite concerned seeing the FAST research that company directors think that shortcuts can be made and they could end up paying much more,” said Michala Wardell, head of anti piracy and licensing at Microsoft.

In terms of the generation of teenagers happy to use counterfeit products she said education could help turn that around but it was an issue that should worry the channel.

“A very large proportion of people are downloading illegally and that cuts out the channel completely,” she said.

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