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News

eBay fine a signal to step up activity against software theft

The Federation Against Software Theft : 02 July, 2008  (Technical Article)
FAST backs working with online auctions to prevent the elicit sale of counterfeit software which costs jobs for smaller software houses
Following yesterday's news that eBay has been fined Euro40 million for allowing the sale of counterfeit goods via its website, Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at Federation Against Software Theft (The Federation) commented:

"The latest action against from the French court is further proof that until effective measures are put in place to vet auctions and their products for legitimacy, such a trade will flourish.

"It is not rocket science to realise that items such as software or anything else that should cost upwards of £100 that are being sold on an auction site for a few pounds are likely to be illicit."

For members, The Federation watches online auction activity to track down illegitimate auctions and works with eBay to take down suspicious auctions. Smaller software vendors, for example Primal Pictures, often rely on a small number of high value sales to stay in business and keep paying their staff. Primal Pictures created a medically and anatomically correct 3D model of the human body to be used by hospitals and medical students. The design took over ten years to perfect but seconds to steal and put up for auction in 2007.

"Stealing this valuable intellectual property that people have worked so hard on can run these vendors into the ground very quickly, costing jobs and revenue to the country," concluded Heathcote Hobbins.

The UK has the largest creative sector in the EU, accounting for 7.3% of the economy; comparable to the size of the financial services industry. It employs 1 million people itself, while another 800,000 work in creative occupations.
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