FAST Urges SAM Providers To Blow Whistle On Illegal Software


Financial reward offered to SAM firms reporting customers’ software misuse

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is offering Software Asset Management (SAM) firms a reward for informing on any customers illegally using business software.

It’s the first time FAST has specifically asked SAM practitioners to report deliberate misuse. Under the terms of its Incentive Payment Agreement, if a report leads to the successful conclusion of an illegal software use case the whistle blower can claim a payment calculated as a percentage of the net damages.

“Despite the fact that software piracy figures are slowly declining in the UK, there is still a substantial hard core of business users who are flouting the need for licences to cover actual use,” said Julian Heathcote Hobbins, general counsel at FAST. “We are offering a carrot to IT professionals including in the SAM community; your protestations do not need to be ignored. Organisations can be made to comply with software licensing rules especially if they are intentionally using unlicensed software and are not willing to address the issue.

Warnings ignored

“We know that in the vast majority of cases, where we come across under-licensing in business, that it is often the result of an oversight and in those instances members will often work with the user and their SAM partners to ensure that the software estate is compliant. However, we also recognise that many in the SAM community may have repeatedly highlighted licensing shortfalls to customers, only to be continually ignored with these concerns brushed aside. We are offering a route for those who work in the sector to report to FAST and not be mixed up in the illegality.” 

Under the agreement, firms can report illegal software use to FAST through its dedicated website.


If FAST is successful in concluding the case, including securing retrospective licensing fees that should have been paid in the first place, then the whistle blower is entitled to claim a reward.

“Over the past few years we have had real success with driving compliance with 50 current active matters. It is our belief that the SAM community needs to address the issue and that something can be done about deliberately infringing customers and claim a reward. 99 percent of end users value compliance and its non-legal benefits. The message is loud, clear and unambiguous; those who intentionally infringe software IP should be concerned,” said Heathcote Hobbins.

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