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• In today’s tough recessionary market, the computer software industry is taking a zero tolerance approach to the illegal use of software
• The Business Software Alliance’s (BSA) two-month London campaign exposes under-licensing at Soho House

Maidenhead, UK, 1st July 2009: FAST Ltd, a leading UK authority on Software Asset Management and IT Compliance, providing software, education, consulting and managed services launched a campaign today to provide help to those organisations who are concerned that they might become the next victim of a crackdown on software piracy.

It follows Soho House Group’s decision to agree a settlement with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) for alleged unlicensed use of software. The London-based company, famous for its Soho House, Babington House and Soho House New York venues, was investigated by the BSA for alleged under-licensing of Microsoft software. The parties reached a settlement and Soho House subsequently paid an undisclosed sum to the BSA.

At the beginning of June, the BSA launched a two-month campaign aimed at companies in London, encouraging users to pay for their software. London has the highest incidence of piracy in the UK - even when a company insists it made an unintentional oversight or blunder. The Soho House case, which is thought to involve a considerable sum, demonstrates how the onus is on businesses to prove they have bought their software legitimately.

If a software publisher or other body decides to audit an organisation’s software, it will cause significant disruption to the business as well as potential damage to the company’s reputation by being named and shamed should unlicensed software be found. Soho House is a case in point.

Andy Pearce, Managing Director for FAST Ltd comments:

“Without good software asset management, companies could also be spending too much on software as well as too little. More than 40 percent of UK businesses find they are over-licensed on software and in these difficult economic times, cost control is more important than ever. Sure you don’t want any unexpected costs or settlement costs but equally you don’t want to be paying for software you are not using. We’re here to help and in response to the BSA’s London campaign, we have also launched an initiative to provide companies with some options ahead of a rather more embarrassing and nasty disclosure. After all, it makes a lot of sense to get this under control yourself, before you are forced to.”

The BSA, one of a number of umbrella trade bodies that enforce copyright law on behalf of members, says its biggest recent settlement in the UK was £250,000 in 2007. Last year, it carried out 294 legal actions in the UK. The value of legal settlements achieved by the BSA on behalf of its members in the UK for the illegal use of unlicensed software is 25 times up on the same period in 2008. For example:

• In April two Belfast companies were hit with settlement fees of more than £15,000 for using unlicensed software
• Two Scottish companies recently paid almost £150,000 in settlement costs after being found to be using unlicensed software

To help combat this problem, FAST Ltd is offering a FAST Licence Review for companies concerned about their current licensing situation. This review service can quickly determine whether a company is able to provide proof of entitlement for the software it is using. On completion of a review of the current situation, FAST’s licensing experts will produce an Effective Licence Position (ELP) for the software.

By carrying out a FAST Licence Review companies will:

• Have accurate information to submit to vendors and enforcement bodies when requested
• Ensure they have the correct number of licences for software installed
• Be able to take steps to mitigate the risk if under-licensed software is identified
• Be in a better position to negotiate future software licensing contracts
• Avoid paying for licences that they don't need

A recent survey conducted by FAST IiS in October 2008, showed that although 75 percent of companies have in place a Software Asset Management policy, 38 percent admitted that they had only a basic understanding of their software licences. This lack of transparency can leave businesses open to the threat of the legal and financial consequences of under and over licensing. This is clearly not a good situation to be in under any circumstances, but especially not in the tough economic climate we are currently experiencing.

Pearce continues: "At FAST we certainly believe that education is better than prosecution which is why we are encouraging companies to come forward and to take up our FAST Licence Review option.”

FAST Ltd recently launched its own software compliance tool, FAST Compliance Manager, to help customers better manage their software compliance and gain a clear view of their entitlement and usage rights. It also offers a wide range of professional, consulting and managed services to UK organisations that want to benefit from smarter IT and software asset management strategies, and ensure they have a legally compliant IT infrastructure.

To find out more about FAST Ltd’s professional consultancy and managed services, please visit FAST’s website: www.fastconsultancy.com.

-ends-

Notes to editors

About FAST Ltd:

FAST Ltd, part of IRIS is a leading UK authority on Software Asset Management and IT Compliance, providing software, education, consulting and managed services. For over 24 years FAST Ltd has helped over 8,000 organisations control their IT costs, mitigate risk and deploy best practice IT using expert impartial and independent advice.

The FAST Compliance programme focuses on helping organisations achieve ‘best practice’ in IT and software compliance. The business supports its 2,700 customers to reach and maintain The FAST Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC–1:2007), a private Standard which was developed in collaboration with BSi. The FAST Standard also addresses a significant proportion of the requirements of ISO/IEC 19770-1 the International Standard for Software Asset Management. The Federation Against Software Theft Investors in Software (FAST IiS), which aims to combat software piracy, endorses the Standard.

FAST IiS, which is a not for profit organisation limited by guarantee is owned and funded by its members – software publishers, solicitors, IT resellers etc. FAST Ltd has a mandate from FAST IiS to advise and help UK organisations on the issue of software compliance and promote the legal use of software and it is the only organisation that meets the FAST IiS’ mandate.

For further information:

Paula Elliott
C8 Consulting Ltd for FAST Ltd
+ 44 (0) 118 9001132
paula@c8consulting.co.uk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of C8 Consulting in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.