FAST launches manifesto calling for more IP protection

The Federation Against Software Theft has launched its own manifesto ahead of the election urging the main parties to do more to protect the software industry

With the general election getting ever closer the main political parties are getting ready their manifesto documents to provide the electorate with a list of the promises they would make if they got into 10 Downing Street.

At the same time the business groups that try to influence policy are also getting their requests ready to try and get some support for their various wish lists.

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is among those trying to get its agenda noticed by the politicians, in this case pushing greater protection for intellectual property.

The UK Software Industry: A Manifesto for Growth includes some policy initiatives that the group would like to see the main political parties take up.

The FAST ten-point plan

* Encouraging R&D
* Extending connectivity
* Building on the legal framework
*  Support a vigorous IP regime
* Muscular law enforcement
* Balanced digital content consumer law
* Maintain investment in the Police IP Crime Unit and championing Trading Standards Enforcement
* Implement Article 4 of the EU Enforcement Directive
* Sensible data protection
* Deterrence and accountability

Among the ideas put forward by FAST (see side panel for full list) is a call for stronger law enforcement with greater penalties for those that do use unlicensed products as well as preserving the right of Trading Standards to carry out spot checks to see what some traders are selling under the counter.

FAST would also like the implementation of Article 4 of the EU Enforcement Directive, which would allow the software lobby group to act directly on behalf of its members and free up their time as it pursued the IP infringement case.

“By the current Government’s own measurement the UK’s Creative Industries are now worth a staggering £76.9bn a year, accounting for 1.71m jobs in 2013 – a full 5.6% of the entire working population in the UK. The tech sector in its own right is now worth £58bn. This is a sector that is reporting strong and sustained growth year-on-year with over 60% expecting a rise in business activity and both employment prospects and profitability on the up," said Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST.

“The UK economy is made of an increasing number of small technology businesses; notably 95% of the 120,000 enterprises in the information economy sector employ fewer than ten people.  This entrepreneurial community needs a strong legal structure to discourage IP infringements and offer a backbone of support. We have therefore developed a Manifesto that focuses on three key areas: enforcement, deterrence and accountability," he added.

FAST has had some success working with government and has worked closely with the Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister as well as being a vocal supporter for the need to establish and keep funding the Police IP Crime Unit (PIPCU) run by the City of London police.  

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