Federation Against Software Theft

The Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (IiS) are apparently two of the most respected independent names in the UK software industry, according to their own website. Indeed they have a very grand title which implies a very right and proper function. However, grand titles and implied functions do not always translate into beneficial or honourable intent or behaviour.

What are they all about?

Put succinctly, license compliance, in context, software license compliance.

What does this mean?

Essentially they would like everyone to keep an accurate record of all the software they have installed on all their computers. Furthermore they would like to ensure these records are kept up to date, and at the end of the day they would like to help software vendors take action against anyone found to be running unlicensed software.

Who are they?

Very good question. On their website they quote;

  • Software Publishers
  • Resellers & Distributors
  • Consultancies and
  • Law Firms (Federation Legal Advisory Group members)

So the answer is not simple, however it might be fair to say “big software”.

Why are they dangerous?

FAST also prosecutes organisations and individuals for copyright infringement on behalf of its members and publicises the legal penalties and security risks.
Wikipedia

Think about it …

This is a large well-funded organisation with some major software developers behind it. Software piracy is a major problem and indeed it is thought that 41% of all software world wide is Pirated, this is 41% before we even enter into the realms of non-compliance with licensing agreements. As these guys can’t get everybody, the best they can do is to try to get a few people and make an example of them such that others will be so afraid they will jump through hoops to try to keep their licensing up to date and accurate and moreover, not use pirated software.

How can they make this work?

Are you a company Director? If so, have you had a letter asking you for a catalogue of all the software your company runs? Did you comply with this letter? Did the letter contain lots of information about the responsibilities and penalties for company Directors if it’s found that their company is in breach of licensing agreements? Have your staff been approached and asked to report instances where unlicensed software has been used?

So which camp do you fall into?

  • I’m so frightened I employ someone full time to track licenses, and I run dedicated license tracking software that I purchased from a FAST authorised distributer
  • I’m so frightened I no longer allow any software on the premesis that is subject to FAST’s authority, it’s now all Open Source
  • Oops …

Should I really be worried or is this just FUD?

You decide!

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