The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has unveiled a new Incentive Payment Agreement which individuals working at resellers, Software Asset Management (SAM) consultants and systems integrators throughout the UK channel can benefit from, if they report the illegal use of members' software.
This is the first time FAST has rewarded individual whistle blowers with an incentive from the channel. Under the terms of the Incentive Payment Agreement, if a report leads to the successful conclusion of an illegal software use case then the whistle blower will receive a payment calculated as a percentage of the illegal historic use amount, once costs have been deducted.
Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST, stated: "Despite the fact that Piracy figures are slowly declining in the UK, there is still a hard core of business users who are knowingly using unlicensed software. We have just announced a new damages programme – the stick in this equation – and now we are offering a carrot to those in the channel, as well as end users themselves, who know that the organisations they are working with are intentionally misusing software and have no intention of addressing the issue.
"We know that in the vast majority of cases, where we come across under-licensing in business, it is often the result of an oversight and in those cases we work with them and their channel partners to ensure that the software estate is compliant. However, we also recognise that many in the channel may have repeatedly highlighted licensing shortfalls to customers, only to be continually ignored and brushed aside. This is now a route for those who work in the channel to flag their frustration, thereby making sure their customer is compliant with the law."
Under the Agreement a whistle blower can report illegal software use to FAST via its hotline or website. To be accepted, the report needs to clearly demonstrate illegal software which FAST can act on.
If the report itself is found to be accurate and FAST is successful in concluding the case, including retrospective licensing fees (the monies liable to be paid to FAST for the unauthorised historic use of its members' software), then the individual whistle blower will be rewarded.
"Our aim is to reduce the illegal use of software without the permission of the intellectual property rights owner - 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 innovate with new software solutions and services. Over the past few years we have had real success with the existing whistle blower programme. It is our belief that this new incentive scheme, aimed at the very organisations end users work with and rely on for IT provisioning will send a very clear, very loud, and unambiguous message to those who intentionally misuse software," concluded Alex.