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News

FAST comments on litigation risk for companiestest ignoring employee download activity

The Federation Against Software Theft : 18 January, 2010  (Technical Article)
With ScanSafe research indicating large growth in the use of employee workstations for the illegal downloading of software and other materials, The Federation Against Software Theft is advising companies that they face prosecution for allowing this to take place on work premises
FAST IiS, champion of legal software use, is concerned by new research that shows employees are treating their work computers like their home machines. Security firm ScanSafe's internet data research shows a 55 percent rise in workers trying to download illegal software and other content on the work network. FAST has previously noted that IT environments where illegal use of peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing takes place, a common method of accessing pirated software, are often lacking in other areas of compliance.

FAST IiS Chief Executive John Lovelock explains, "Downloading what looks like free software from P2P sites is not recommended. At the very least it's against the law if the software should be purchased and there's a high likelihood of malware being a free and silent add-on. Compounding these issues, the entire company could be at risk if directors knowingly allow this to happen. The company and directors too could face a criminal trial with the possibility of a conviction and fine under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988".

FAST IiS reminds all firms to include an IT policy as part of the conditions of employment which new hires should agree to at the commencement of employment. With existing staff, all users need to be made aware and accept the adjustment in policy, including what steps will be taken against those who use corporate computers for illegal ends.

Lovelock concluded, "It really is cheaper to keep control of your IT estate and software licensing rather than try to cut corners. Advice and help is available to organisations that need it. There is guidance and advice on our website and many of our members, whose details are also on our website, are experts in these fields."

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