The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has warned "dodgy" resellers to stop selling counterfeit software, and has rekindled its campaign to send those caught in the act to jail.
FAST has recruited Computer 2000 to help train VARs. Richard Hales, general manager of software business at the firm, who joined FAST last week, will be one of only two trade representatives to ever sit on its UK board.
John Lovelock, director general of FAST, said rising incidents of software theft had prompted him to seek a trade advocate who could encourage resellers to ensure their customers keep legitimate software licences.
"With car sales you get some very good dealers and some very dodgy ones. The same goes for IT resellers," said Lovelock.
"We must get the message to them that they should deal with legitimate distributors if they are not dealing with the publishers."
FAST is targeting business that have more than 50 PCs with its campaign to audit their software licences. It has recruited 20 resellers and wants at least another 30 to carry the FAST logo.
After 10 years of decline, incidents of software theft in Britain have been on the rise for the past two years, according to figures published by the Business Software Alliance and IDC.
Lovelock vowed to revive FAST's hardline approach to theft. "We are actively looking now to send people to jail. But we don't want to manufacture any victims," he said.
Hales said: "I will be representing from the coalface the views of resellers and distributors. They are probably only interested in FAST if it can enhance their ability to make a living. That will be by providing training and support services."
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