Federation Against Software Theft offers bounties to channel individuals who report software ‘crimes’
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has unveiled a new “Incentive Payment Agreement” for the channel.
Individuals working at resellers, software asset management (SAM) consultants and systems integrators in the UK channel can benefit from bounties if they report the illegal use of software.
This is the first time FAST has specifically rewarded individual whistle blowers in the channel with financial incentives.
Under the terms of the Incentive Payment Agreement, if a report leads to the successful conclusion of an illegal software use case, then the whistle blower will receive a payment “calculated as a percentage” of the illegal historic use amount, once costs have been deducted.
Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST, said: “Despite the fact that piracy figures are slowly declining in the UK, there is still a hard core of business users who are knowingly using unlicensed software.
“We are offering a carrot to those in the channel who know that organisations they are working with are intentionally misusing software and have no intention of addressing the issue.”
Hilton said: “We know that in the vast majority of cases, where we come across under-licensing in business, it is often the result of an oversight and in those cases we work with them and their channel partners to ensure that the software estate is compliant.
“However, we also recognise that many in the channel may have repeatedly highlighted licensing shortfalls to customers, only to be continually ignored and brushed aside. This is now a route for those who work in the channel to flag their frustration, thereby making sure their customer is compliant with the law.”
Under the Agreement a whistle blower can report illegal software use to FAST via its hotline or website. To be accepted, the report needs to clearly demonstrate illegal software which FAST can act on.
Not everyone is fully behind the scheme though. James Hanson, VP of marketing at software asset management tools vendor Concorde, said: “It’s interesting to see FAST adopting the same approach that the BSA has been following for years. But we would argue that initiating a blame culture and encouraging whistle-blowing on employers and customers is counter-productive.
“It puts individuals in a difficult position. A ‘carrot’ approach would be more effective. Most firms (admittedly not all) don’t want to pirate software – they just struggle to manage it effectively and become ‘pirates’ by accident. We believe FAST would be more effective at reducing software piracy if it focused on educating software users on why compliance is important and show them how they can be compliant.
“SAM (software asset management) is the solution to this problem that is staring them in the face. Why not work with the SAM vendors to get that message out instead?”