Federation Against Software Theft reveals software piracy victims | FAST

Federation Against Software Theft reveals software piracy victims

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Top ten most pirated software programs

The Federation Against Software Theft discloses its investigation trends in software commonly used by businesses without a licence. This information originates from its case work following reports received by whistle blowers to its report facility.

According to figures released by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), the most commonly installed software without a licence is that of Microsoft. The Federation spends 80% of its time of casework which involves Microsoft installations.  

This is the first time the anti-piracy body has released information on its casework and enforcement activity and represents the work it has been conducting over the past year.

Julian Heathcote Hobbins, FAST’s General Counsel, stated: “It may come as no surprise to some that Microsoft with its diverse and attractive product portfolio is subject to such high levels of piracy. In fact, if you study the FAST figures, Microsoft products account for a staggering 54% of the enforcement cases we are working on today. This is rapidly followed by the likes of Adobe, Solidworks, Quark and Corel Draw,”

“It is not just the software publishers who fall foul of software piracy, the corporate end–user is often left in a vulnerable position being an automatic infringer and not party to support. There is a more general risk that if the copy is from an unauthorised internet resource, the software may be incomplete or virus contaminated. Unscrupulous computer system builders can dupe unsuspecting customers using their computer skills to install unlawful copies on computers. The system builder gets paid, the brand owner does not and the customer does not have a genuine copy.” he continued.

Roy Crozier, of the FLAG law firm Clarke Willmott, who specialises in anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy matters, stated:  “Given changes in court rules it is now easier and cheaper to take legal action to ensure that software is not used without appropriate payment being received.  Previously, software developers were caught between a rock and a hard place in that it was often not financially viable to take legal action to ensure that payment was made for any and all software being used.  Now it is in far more cases. That said current damages rules provide little deterrent for parties to not infringe copyright as infringers are generally unlikely even if caught to have to pay substantially more than they would have to do if they obtained a licence for the software in the first place. As such the rules lack “bite”. Unless we have the possibility of “statutory” damages or “pre-established” damages which result in infringers facing the possibility of having to pay a multiple of the licence fee which would ordinarily be due this situation will continue.” 

Michala Wardell, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft UK, stated: “Software piracy and efforts to illegally profit from pirated software have become increasingly sophisticated, and Microsoft continues to evolve its technology and tactics in order to protect its IP and its customers. Businesses that use pirated software frequently run into a whole host of problems, such as identity theft and credit card fraud. They then have to spend many hours trying to reverse the impact the counterfeit software has had on their business. We remind customers to ‘play it safe’, ask questions, investigate packaging, watch for ‘too good to be true’ prices and demand genuine software to ensure business get what they pay for.”

The Federation Against Software Theft’s enforcement portfolio; top ten most pirated software programs in in the UK:

1.Microsoft Office24%
2.Microsoft Windows24%
3.Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator 16%
4.Adobe Creative Suite10%
5.Solidworks 6%
6.SQL   6%
7.Quark  4%
8.Autodesk Autocad 4%
9.Virtual DJ 2%
10.Corel Draw 2%