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Illegal downloads at work put companies at risk, says FAST IiS

Warwick Ashford

Company directors who allow staff to download software illegally are putting themselves and the company at risk of legal liability, software piracy watchdog FAST IiS has warned.

Internet data gathered by security firm ScanSafe across 100 countries revealed a 55% increase in illegal software and music downloads on corporate networks from October to December 2009.

"The company and directors could face a criminal trial with the possibility of a conviction and fine under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988," said John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST IiS.

In addition to the risk of legal liability, there is the likelihood of malware being a silent add-on to software downloaded from peer-to-peer filesharing networks commonly used to distribute pirated software, he said.

FAST IiS recommends that all businesses have an IT policy as part of the conditions of employment and ensure that all employees are aware of the consequences of using corporate computers for illegal software downloads.

"It really is cheaper to keep control of your IT estate and software licensing rather than try to cut corners," said Lovelock.

Guidance for businesses is available on the FAST IiS website, he said.


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