Opinion

The software pirates have changed so now must the response

The decision by FAST to educate Trading Standards and police in London about software piracy is a welcome move but one that is much harder now than it was in the past.

A few years ago reducing software piracy was all about cracking down on car boot sales and hauling off the burnt discs that contained the pirated applications.

These days the action has moved online and illegal applications are more likely to have been downloaded than inserted into a CD ROM tray.

The FAST event is taking place next month at the offices of IP legal experts DAC Beachcroft LLP and they are only too aware of the challenges that those fighting piracy face.
 
"Pirated software sold in boxes has, thankfully, been decimated due to stronger and more intelligent enforcement. Piracy now means a range of illicit activity - sales of licence keys, illegal downloads and code reused without permission in hosted applications. All of these have major problems in terms of evidence collection and enforcement," says Robin Fry, commercial services partner at DAC Beachcroft.

"Agility and intelligent investigations - often with international co-operation - now replace the uniformed officers at the warehouse door.  Continuing education and enforcement are key and the work that both FAST and Trading Standards are doing is to be commended," he added.

The fact that the ways to pirate software have developed means the response also has to change and sadly the reaction of law enforcement agencies when it comes to technology is usually muddled by ignorance and a lack of resources.

If FAST can do its bit to reduce the ignorance about the crime and the way it is committed then it would be a very welcome step in the right direction.

This was first published in May 2012

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