FAST targets SAM community in drive to encourage whistle blowers
3rd April 2017
Financial incentive offered to SAM Practitioners to report intentional software misuse
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has reconfirmed its commitment to incentivising Software Asset Management (SAM) businesses and individual consultants to whistle blow on the illegal business use of software.
This is the first time FAST is specifically seeking to encourage members of the SAM practitioner community to report deliberate infringers who are thumbing their nose at legal licensing obligations, something which IT professionals find unpalatable from their professional training and ethics. Under the terms of the Incentive Payment Agreement, if a report leads to the successful conclusion of an illegal software use case the whistle blower can claim a payment calculated as a percentage of the net damages.
Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at FAST, stated: “Despite the fact that software piracy figures are slowly declining in the UK, there is still a substantial hard core of business users who are flouting the need for licences to cover actual use. We are offering a carrot to IT professionals including in the SAM community; your protestations do not need to be ignored. Organisations can be made to comply with software licensing rules especially if they are intentionally using unlicensed software and are not willing to address the issue.
“We know that in the vast majority of cases, where we come across under-licensing in business, that it is often the result of an oversight and in those instances members will often work with the user and their SAM partners to ensure that the software estate is compliant. However, we also recognise that many in the SAM community may have repeatedly highlighted licensing shortfalls to customers, only to be continually ignored with these concerns brushed aside. We are offering a route for those who work in the sector to report to FAST and not be mixed up in the illegality.”
Under the Agreement, a whistle blower can report illegal software use to FAST through its dedicated web site page at http://www.fast.org/what-piracy/use-unlicensed-software. To be accepted the report needs full disclosure, to be truthful and clearly demonstrate the software programs which are the subject of the complaint.
If FAST is successful in concluding the case, including securing retrospective licensing fees that should have been paid in the first place, then the whistle blower is entitled to claim a reward.
“Our mission is to reduce the illegal use of software which harms the software publisher. This has been the goal of FAST since its inception – ensuring that software developers of all sizes should be paid for their work in order to continue to invest for innovation with new software solutions and services. Over the past few years we have had real success with driving compliance with 50 current active matters. It is our belief that the SAM community needs to address the issue and that something can be done about deliberately infringing customers and claim a reward. 99% of end users value compliance and its non-legal benefits. The message is loud, clear and unambiguous; those who intentionally infringe software IP should be concerned,” concluded Julian.