Channel warned about selling illegal software in new campaign

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The Feds step up their campaign in the channel ‘in partnership’ to prevent common scenarios

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.

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.

Julian Heathcote-Hobbins, general counsel, FAST, said: “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.

Hacker security masked“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.”

He went on: “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, and damage to the reputation of the supplier industry follows.”

He said the channel needs to continue to be vigilant to root out any rogue resellers.

FAST: 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

@AntonySavvas