The Federation Against Software Theft (The Federation) has stepped up its drive to promote the legal use of software in corporate Britain. It has launched an aggressive telemarketing campaign in the banking and finance sector to increase awareness of the legal ramifications of software misuse as well as take enforcement action against infringements.
Recent research findings from analyst group IDC have indicated that over the past year illegal use of software within corporate Britain has in fact increased year on year from 26% to 29%. The launch of this new initiative marks a step increase in The Federation's ongoing war against IP theft and is the first campaign of its type to target this market sector.
John Lovelock, Director General of The Federation stated: "With the rapid growth in the uptake of the Internet at employees’ desktops, software environments are at a huge risk from the availability of illegal downloads. If organisations are building new systems on the back of ones using illegal software, they really are putting their business operations at a risk. Corporate complacency has to stop, software theft is not a victimless crime and we will pursue infringers through the courts."
"We are talking about staying on the right side of the law as well as saving money. A company would not drive a fleet of untaxed vehicles without expecting to be caught and the same can be said for illegal software in an organisation," he added. "The Government has given us the tools to support this initiative with the Copyright, etc. and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Act 2002 which increased the penalties for certain copyright offences from two years to 10 years to underline the seriousness of copyright offences and strengthened search warrant provisions. The message is clear: if company directors allow the use of illegal software then it may be fast track to a criminal record."
The Federation's telemarketing campaign in the banking sector, has also been designed to support a major new Government initiative to tackle copyright piracy, the National IP Crime Strategy, 10th August 2004, bringing together the Police, HM Customs & Excise and the relevant IP bodies including The Federation, as part of a plan to promote the creative and content industries.
John Lovelock added: "Government, supported by the enforcement bodies such as the Federation, has a key role to play in protecting intellectual property rights which provide the infrastructure for our economy. In the future, a strong, effective intellectual property regime will be a competitive advantage for the UK"
"But without IP protection the software sector, indeed the whole content industry, could not exist, let alone prosper. In today's digital world, IP is the key to our future and in an increasingly competitive global economy any attack on our intellectual capital is an attack on the economy itself."