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File sharing legislation welcomed by FAST.

The Federation Against Software Theft : 13 February, 2008  (Technical Article)
The Federation Against Software Theft applauds the Government for moves to legislate against copyright infringing file shares.
The Federation Against Software Theft (The Federation) has welcomed news that the Government is considering legislation in the fight against illegal file-sharers.

While much of the news has centred on music and film piracy the problem is much wider, with the computer software being hit hard by software theft.

According to recent independent research around 27 per cent of all software in use is illegal, and this theft costs the UK economy over £1bn each year. As a result the UK Government loses around £175m in lost revenue from the VAT alone.

The same research shows that a 10 per cent reduction in software theft would result in over 13,000 new jobs being created.

"The UK is rightly proud of the innovative skills of the hundreds of small companies that produce world class software solutions, but the livelihood of these firms is constantly being put at risk by Internet Service Providers freely allowing illegal distribution to take place," said John Lovelock, chief executive at The Federation."

"With the ecosystem of the British economy changing from its historic manufacturing base to more service and creative-led industries, these small companies are the lifeblood of the country. We have a duty to make sure that their intellectual property - the core of their business - is properly protected."

But The Federation is concerned that the emphasis of any legislation must go further then simply concentrating on those people who may download files, it must act against those who make the material available.

"This is definitely a step in the right direction. However, we believe that it does not go far enough," said John Lovelock.

"For too long people have been flouting the law by making illegal copies of software available over the internet, at the same time they have been afforded anonymity by their internet service provider.

"This cannot be right, and cannot be acceptable. ISPs must get their own house in order. Hiding behind a defence that they are merely a conduit is simple not acceptable.

"We are not saying they should be expected to know what every customer on their network is doing. However when they are presented with hard evidence of illegal activity they should take action - whether that be 'cutting off' the trader themselves or providing details to an enforcement organisation like the Federation to take action," he said.
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