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FAST joins trading standards campaign in Wales

The Federation Against Software Theft : 14 July, 2008  (Company News)
By joining Trading Standards Officers, the Federation against Software Theft is embarking on an awareness campaign aimed at Welsh businesses
In the first action of its kind The Federation Against Software Theft has joined forces with Trading Standards Officers in Cardiff to support its innovative campaign to advise businesses in the city on the thorny issue of software use.

The campaign being undertaken throughout the summer will see Trading Standards teams and the Federation educating businesses on Section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. As a result, any business, which installs for business use software unlawfully, with knowledge and without proper authorisation from the copyright holder, is potentially at risk of a criminal investigation by Trading Standards.

This is the first such educational initiative in the UK with Trading Standards Officers now able to use their powers of inspection under the terms of the law. The Federation will be acting as an additional resource providing businesses in the area with detailed information on copyright compliance.

John Lovelock, Chief Executive of The Federation, stated: "Technology is a double edged sword; acting as a catalyst for businesses to prosper but at the same time facilitating software theft. This is a major issue that has to be addressed and users should think twice before they roll in the mud with an investigation. As a result we intend to fully co-operate with Trading Standards so that together we can support the legitimate use of software at work. We are working towards the same ends as Trading Standards, doing some groundbreaking work and exploring new boundaries granted by legislation to protect the software industry in the UK and further a-field."

Gordon Brown announced seed funding of £5 million in late 2007 for trading standards to enforce copyright, Trading Standards officers now have the duty and power to enforce against criminal copyright offences. As such the body may now work with enforcement agencies like The Federation to investigate copyright offences and may enter UK workplaces.

Dave Holland of Cardiff Trading Standards, added: "Trading standards wants to work in cooperation with FAST, using their technical expertise, to enforce the law on copyright using a programme of advice and education for our local businesses. With the enactment of the criminal provisions of the law on copyright, there is a greater emphasis on legal compliance. I hope that this proactive programme will motivate business to put measures in place to avoid any legal action. Later this year, our officers will conduct a number of random inspections to ascertain how well businesses are performing against legal requirements. At this stage, our approach is focused upon helping business meet legal requirements and remain competitive in the current economic climate."

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