The Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) has partnered with Trading Standards in three boroughs to spread its software compliance message.
Following a pilot scheme launched in Cardiff, the scheme has now been fully extended to that area along with Southampton and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to educate businesses in those areas on how to ensure compliance.
The campaign will run throughout the summer and topics covered include how to buy software, downloading, the types of products to be aware of and the legal ramifications of misuse.
John Lovelock, chief executive of Fast, said: “Technology is a double-edged sword; acting as a catalyst for businesses to prosper, but at the same time facilitating software theft, often unintended.
“As a result we intend to fully co-operate with Trading Standards so that together we can ensure use of genuine software at work. We are focused on the same ends as Trading Standards, doing some groundbreaking work and exploring new boundaries granted by legislation to protect the software industry in the UK and further afield.”
He added: “It has become commonplace for businesses to often unintentionally break piracy laws by not paying attention to software licensing. To clarify, if a software application doesn’t have a licence, or if the licence only entitles its use for an individual machine but it is being installed on various computers, then it is illegally installed.”
Aside from a hefty fine and a possible prison sentence, Lovelock said a firm faces losing its reputation if it is exposed for illegal activity.
Rob Abell, representative from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Trading Standards, said: “Every year Britain’s digital economy is largely affected by piracy and illegitimate software use: future investment, innovation and people’s jobs are at stake.
"We want a level playing field for those businesses that are meeting their legal requirements. With the support of Fast we are now looking to work together tackling software theft in the workplace which includes helping and supporting those businesses trying to trade legally in the current economic climate.”
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