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The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has extended the focus of its anti-piracy campaign to the North West building on successful regional crack downs it has previously held in Wales and the South of England.
Working with Trading Standards the software group has launched its Software - Stay Legal downloadable guide that is being promoted to firms in the North West.
FAST has a track record of working with Trading Standards in Cardiff stretching from 2009 and it has kept that relationship going as well as adding this summer Southampton and the Royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to the list of places targeted.
John Lovelock, chief executive at FAST, said that it was the first time an educational campaign had been launched on this scale in the North West.
"Technology is a double edged sword; acting as a catalyst for businesses to prosper but at the same time facilitating software theft, often unintended," he said.
"Businesses will not benefit from cutting corners when it comes to software compliance," he added "Aside from a hefty fine and possible imprisonment for criminal offences by directors knowingly allowing illegal use, an organisation can lose its reputation if it is exposed for illegal activity," he added.
Trading Standards are able to exploit section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to investigate and prosecute those caught breaking copyright.