FAST encourages the North West to ‘Stay Legal’ | FAST

FAST encourages the North West to ‘Stay Legal’

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Industry body invites the North West to join Microsoft, Adobe and Garmin at the ‘Get Software Smart – Stay Legal’ event on 14th November

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is taking its successful ‘Get Software Smart: Stay Legal’ campaign to Bury, mirroring similar initiatives across the UK in recent years. The campaign will see FAST work with other enforcement bodies to train and educate law enforcement officers in the region about how to deal with barriers to stamping out rogue traders.

The launch event, hosted at Bury Town Hall on 14th November, will offer attendees insights on how to master the legal and investigative challenges of tackling software Intellectual Property (IP) crime. Attendees will have the special opportunity to hear from speakers from a number of key software IP rights holders, including Microsoft, Adobe and Garmin, as well as representatives from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the new elite IP Crime Unit at the City of London Police, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

Alex Hilton, FAST’s CEO, commented: “Software piracy is sometimes seen as a victimless crime, but the impact of software piracy spreads well beyond the door of the software industry. Commercially, the value of counterfeit software is estimated to be £1.5 billion in the UK. In other words, £1.5 billion taken out of investment, taken out of the economy and taken out of job creation. We strongly support the focused efforts of law enforcement in bringing criminal prosecutions against those involved in IP crime.

“The role of trading standards officers in clamping down on software theft is vital. But counterfeit software is increasingly difficult to identify as the reproduction of unauthorised copies are often cleverly designed to imitate the manufacturer’s legitimate product so closely that it requires a trained eye to spot the tell-tale signs. Our guest speakers will equip attendees with industry tips and knowledge to better enable them to clamp down on software theft out in the field,” he continued.

Rob Stirling, Detective Inspector PIPCU Operations, City of London Police, added: “We must challenge the assumption that software piracy is not a crime. Theft is theft whether it involves physical goods or Intellectual Property. I commend the work of FAST, and their Stay Legal programme, in protecting IP rights, encouraging best practice, and assisting enforcement agencies to uphold the law.”

Adding to the discussions will be a representative of Microsoft, who will describe in detail key differences between genuine and counterfeit software. Abrahim Bakhtiar (Microsoft UK Digital Crimes Unit Attorney) said: “Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit works closely with enforcement bodies, including Trading Standards and FAST to identify and investigate software piracy, analyse products and assist in bringing criminals to justice. Our priority here is to help to ensure a level playing field for our customers and partners by reducing digital crime.  Industry bodies like FAST play a key role in the fight against digital crime; they provide guidance and assistance to the public, they educate businesses on the need to be correctly licensed by using legitimate genuine software and they help to arm trading standards officers with additional skills they can use to uncover software theft”.