News item

'Software - stay legal' campaign in South East

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is to train up Trading Standards in the South East (TSSE) to help protect jobs and stop piracy

A campaign to highlight the issue of software piracy, and its negative impact on the creation of jobs and wealth, in London and the South East is to be launched mirroring successful initiatives in the North West, North East and Wales.

This tranche of the  ‘Software – Stay Legal’ programme will commence in the South East on the 15th May at the Guildhall, Windsor. The event will see the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) work with Trading Standards in the South East to send a message to businesses from across the region and build awareness of the economic impact of the illegal use of software.

Jo Player, Trading Standards Manager for the South East region, comments: “The digital sector is essential for economic growth in the South East and Trading Standards has to make sure it is fully prepared in the fight to protect local businesses against software piracy.

“Copying software is not a victimless crime and businesses in the South East are suffering as a result of it – weakening the UK economic recovery and threatening job creation.”

Under section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Trading Standards has the duty to prosecute copyright offences and may inspect workplaces to check for compliance including software. FAST is providing guidance for Trading Standards officers across the country on how to spot piracy and therefore be equipped to enforce intellectual property rights.

The programme will bring together speakers from a number of leading software IP rights holders, including Adobe, Symantec, and Microsoft, as well as FAST and the Intellectual Property Office. The event aims to highlight the vital role that software development has in job creation and the impact that piracy has on the economy of the South East.

Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, has leant his support to the campaign: “We live in a world of opportunity in which information flows freely and technology changes fast.  But it’s also easier than ever to pirate and bootleg other people’s work.”

 “We must challenge the assumption that digital is somehow different. Intellectual property belongs to someone. Theft is theft whether is involves physical goods or intellectual property. I commend the work of FAST in protecting the IP rights of its members.”

David Cole, Solicitor at Palmer Biggs and member of FAST’s Legal Advisory Group (FLAG) comments: “The South East has a higher than average dependence on the Digital Economy, which has been an important seam of growth, investment, and jobs. Innovation and growth depends on robust Intellectual Property legislation – more precisely – the belief that this legislation will be enforced and supported.

"Industry-led bodies, such as FAST, play a vital role in driving awareness, educating businesses, and assisting the authorities with enforcement. Inviting a dialogue between businesses and Trading Standards will no doubt prove fruitful.”

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About FAST

The Federation Against Software Theft was formed in 1984. FAST is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee and wholly owned by its members. It aims to reduce, restrict and or lessen the incidence of unauthorised dealings in computer software. It works on many fronts to promote software compliance and protect its members’ rights through awareness, enforcement, lobbying and promoting standards and best practice in business.


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