FAST warns channel on the risks to their businesses through unscrupulous sales
21st April, 2016
Illegal business software still accounts for 24 per cent of all installations in the UK
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has stepped up its awareness campaign in the UK channel warning against the peril of the supply of unlicensed software applications to business users.
Julian Heathcote-Hobbins, General Counsel, FAST, stated: “Your business as a reseller depends on your reputation for delivering reliable products and services. 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.”
Software piracy is the illegal reproduction and distribution of software applications. Because of counterfeit and unlicensed software ingress, legitimate software supplier businesses are not only losing customer opportunities; they’re missing out on ongoing revenues and the chance to add value.
“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.”
FAST is working with its communities including the channel, alongside a number of its members, to raise awareness of this issue and educate them on how to avoid risk.
“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,” he added.
Some common examples of software misuse and piracy
- A customer buys software from an unauthorised channel reseller and calls a vendor to register the software. Unfortunately the software has already been registered to another user. Such software license IDs are non-transferable, so the end user is not licensed to use the software and must re-purchase while running the risk of infringement damages.
- A customer installs software on multiple machines which exceeds the permitted number of installs. This is known as "under licensing". This results in a breach of license which is copyright infringement.
- A reseller sells, copies or distributes demonstration copies of software to end user customers for full use. This is not permitted and, although it may appear to benefit the customer, it actually means the business is not compliant and therefore at risk as an infringer.
- An unauthorised reseller sells or distributes illegal copies replicating a registered trademark of a software publisher. This is trademark infringement, a criminal offence.