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FAST calls on SAM specialists to start whistle blowing

Software Asset Management specialists are among the first to know when a user is opting to use unlicensed software and FAST is encouraging them to share that information

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has been urging users to whistle blow on their employers if they use unlicensed applications and has now urged the SAM community to do the same.

Software Asset Management specialists work with customers to try and get on top of their estate and usually end up saving them money and helping them avoid fines and legal action.

FAST is hoping that those SAM consultants that come across users who continue to refuse to pay their way will report those cases.

The software lobby group is prepared to reward those that do with an Incentive Payment Agreement that will give a percentage of the net damages to those that report an offence that leads to a successful conclusion of legal action.

“Despite the fact that software piracy figures are slowly declining in the UK, there is still a substantial hard core of business users who are flouting the need for licences to cover actual use," said Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at FAST.

"We are offering a carrot to IT professionals including in the SAM community; your protestations do not need to be ignored. Organisations can be made to comply with software licensing rules especially if they are intentionally using unlicensed software and are not willing to address the issue," he added.

Most of the time when a customer ends up using unlicensed software it is a genuine mistake that can then be rectified, often with the help of a SAM specialist.

But that situation is not universal and Heathcote Hobbins said that SAM experts were among the first to know when a customer was determined to avoid playing by the rules.

"Many in the SAM community may have repeatedly highlighted licensing shortfalls to customers, only to be continually ignored with these concerns brushed aside. We are offering a route for those who work in the sector to report to FAST and not be mixed up in the illegality," he said.

Anyone blowing the whistle needs to give full and honest disclosure about the events and demonstrate that software is being used illegally.

"Over the past few years we have had real success with driving compliance with 50 current active matters. It is our belief that the SAM community needs to address the issue and that something can be done about deliberately infringing customers and claim a reward. 99% of end users value compliance and its non-legal benefits. The message is loud, clear and unambiguous; those who intentionally infringe software IP should be concerned,” added Heathcote Hobbins.

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