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13 July 2004
Software pirates face stormy weather
on the high seas of the internet
The Federation Against Software Theft tackles online crime

The Federation Against Software Theft (The Federation) has reinforced its fight against software infringement committed online with the relaunch of its ReportIT tool. Globally, more than one third1 of software is believed to be pirated, with the increasing use of broadband adding to the threat of it being downloaded illegally via the internet. The Federation’s drive follows a report2 that more than a million British internet shoppers have been victims of fraud.

ReportIT enables anonymous reporting to The Federation of any website identified to be selling unlicensed software. The URLs3 of such sites are then investigated by The Federation’s internet team and if it is found that their business is illegal, they may be prosecuted. ReportIT also allows The Federation to receive details on websites pirating games, music and films as well as software, and will communicate these with the other trade bodies within the Alliance Against Counterfeiting & Piracy (the Alliance) of which they are all members. Since its initial launch, The Federation has received over 2000 of these reports.

Selling pirated, or unlicensed, software online or offline may be deemed a criminal offence. In 2002, the maximum prison sentence for this crime was increased from two to ten years with the Copyright, etc and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Bill, which is an amendment to the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

John Lovelock, Manager of The Federation and Legal Affairs, says: "The global reach and anonymity of the internet makes it all too easy to steal, market and distribute infringing material – thereby encouraging unscrupulous people to engage in criminal activity. Operating to protect the livelihoods of software designers and the development of the industry, The Federation members will not tolerate such activity. ReportIT is our pledge to ensure that investigations continue to keep one step ahead of the dynamic technology environment."

ReportIT is freely available to download from The Federation’s website ( and installed on the user’s internet browser. Reports are generated by clicking the ReportIT button – no identification, telephone call or form-completion is required.

Lovelock adds: "ReportIT has been hugely successful to date. This relaunch is to remind businesses that The Federation can help them, as well as warn online pirates that they will be caught out if they continue with their behaviour - copyright breaches are unethical and illegal."

Spotting fake software
Pirated software sites are often easy to identify. Look out for:
Web sites offering software on recordable CDs (CD-Rs) at surprisingly low prices (say from £2/CD) if it looks too good to be true, it usually is!
Web sites with aggressive graphics with a rant telling enforcement agencies to keep out
Sites known or advertised as "Warez" - the web word for pirated software
'Spam' emails advertising cheap software with seemingly no mainstream contact details and calls to send cash to a random PO Box address with a link to a web site
Text on web sites or included in spam e-mails that state that some of the software may not work or has to be cracked first.
Websites advertising the sales of ‘back up’ copies of software


1. IDC survey carried out on behalf of the BSA suggests that, while £51 billion was spent globally last year on software applications, another £29 billion worth was downloaded illegally. (July 2004)

2. LogicaCMG found that around 5% of British adults have been subjected to attempts to steal personal details of financial information. (July 2004)

3. Uniform Resource Locator (unique website address).

About The Federation
The Federation Against Software Theft became the world’s first software anti-piracy organisation when it was set up in 1984 to lobby Parliament for changes to the copyright law.

Today The Federation’s key remit is enforcement. In particular, it tackles software theft using the sanctions of the copyright legislation, extending to under-licensing (buying one license, but then copying the software many times), to the problem of misuse of the internet. It represents any software publisher member whose intellectual property is being abused, regardless of their size. Often, The Federation will consider attempting to resolve these issues without action. However, it is now committed to criminal prosecutions where the misuse is both flagrant and serious.

The Federation’s own legal expertise is reinforced by its Legal Advisory Group (FLAG), which consists of circa 30 law firms engaged in IT/IP and operating in the UK and overseas.

The Federation has 160 members from the software publishing industry (including resellers, distributors, audit software providers and consultants).

Queries to The Federation can be made by telephone (01628 622121) or email (

For more information please contact:
Kate Alexander / Kelly Stroud
Spreckley Partners Ltd
Tel: 020 7388 9988

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Spreckley Partners in the following categories: Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit