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The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) says that it is stepping up its awareness campaign, warning the channel of the perils of unlicensed software applications in enterprise environments.
The organisation, mandated to promote the legal use of software and to defend the intellectual property rights of software publishers, said that counterfeit and unlicensed software from shady resellers is compromising legitimate software supplier businesses.
“Your business as a reseller depends on your reputation for delivering reliable products and services,” said Julian Heathcote-Hobbins, general counsel, FAST. “Keeping a clean nose means being careful to only install genuine software procured from a trusted supplier.”
"All it takes is an unscrupulous reseller or systems integrator duping unsuspecting customers using their technical skills to install unlawful copies on computers – if you like, a bad apple in the barrel. The system builder gets paid, the software publisher does not and the business customer is left without a genuine copy and is a copyright infringer," he added.
“If that is not enough of a risk, it also raises the question of cyber health, and can damage the reputation of the supplier industry.”
FAST says that it has been working with the channel, alongside a number of its members, to raise awareness of this issue and educate resellers on how to avoid risk.
“FAST has long campaigned on behalf of software publishers being one of the twentieth century's major success stories with the genesis of FAST being the clarification in law that software benefits from copyright. IP is a wealth generator and employment catalyst which Britain is rightly proud of,” continued Julian.
“Unscrupulous suppliers and hoodwinked businesses are not only at risk of infringement legal claims, legitimate customer trust can be blighted by a rogue reseller.”
According to the BSA Facts campaign 2015, 24% of installed business software in the UK is used unlawfully and one in three copied software packages contains malware.
The software-champion says that resellers can avoid wasting valuable time and money by giving too-good-to-be-true deals a miss.
“It has always been our contention that end users themselves need to purchase from known and trusted sources and avoid ‘too good to be true’ deals. The channel needs to continue to be vigilant to root out any rogue resellers. After all, it is in no-one’s best interest if the reseller community is tarnished with the same brush if illegal activity is found,” Julian concluded.