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The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has been running a whistleblower campaign for several years as it encourages people to report the use of illegal products.
The industry lobby group has enjoyed a fair amount of success and most of its notable recent victories against those using unlicensed software came about as a result of whistleblowers.
In a move that will up the ante FAST is now making those reports of illegal software something that could earn rewards for the whistleblower.
The incentive payment agreement works on the basis that if a report from a whistleblower leads to the successful identification of illegal software then there will be a payment of 55% of the illegal historic use payment.
That is not a figure to be sniffed at with most of the historic use payments running into the thousands and it should encourage more people to come forward.
“Piracy figures are slowly declining in the UK, but there is still a hard core of users who are intentionally using unlicensed software. We have just announced a new damages programme – the stick in this equation – and now we are offering a carrot to those individuals who know that the organisations they are working for are intentionally misusing software,” said FAST CEO Alex Hilton.
“We know that in the vast majority of cases where we come across under-licensing in business, that this is often the result of oversight and in those cases we work with them to ensure that their software estates are compliant. However, we want to make it very clear to those company bosses who are deliberately ignoring their software licensing responsibilities: we are coming after you with a big financial stick,” he added.
Whistleblowers can report illegal software use via the FAST hotline or through the web. A report, which clearly details the use of unlicensed products, then needs to be submitted for the group to act on.
“Over the past few years we have had real success with the existing whistle blower programme, but it is our belief that this new scheme – when seen in conjunction with our damages programme – will send a very clear, very loud, and unambiguous message to those who intentionally misuse software,” concluded Alex.
FAST has found that in the past job preservation was preventing more whistle blowers from coming forward. The reward system might encourage greater willingness to speak out against illegal activity.