SIIA, FAST to target more software pirates

The two trade groups sign an agreement to work together on antipiracy enforcement

Two trade groups focused on fighting software piracy have signed a partnership agreement, with the goal of bringing more cases against people and businesses using unlicensed software.

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), based in Washington, D.C., and the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), with headquarters outside of London, announced the partnership Tuesday. With combined resources, the two groups should be able to pursue more antipiracy cases, said Keith Kupferschmid, SIIA's senior vice president for intellectual property policy and enforcement.

Both trade groups investigate reports of companies using unlicensed software and reach settlements with those businesses. The trade groups encourage whistle blowers to tell them about illegal software use.

During the last four years, SIIA has filed more than 100 lawsuits in the U.S. against online sellers dealing in counterfeit, OEM, academic, region-specific and other illegal software and publications, as well as organizations illegally using software and content, according to the trade group. The sellers and users of pirated software have paid millions of dollars in damages, and in some cases, law enforcement agencies have pursued criminal charges based on SIIA information.

The new agreement will allow the two trade groups to share resources and to help each other during piracy investigations in the U.S. and Europe, Kupferschmid said. "Piracy is such a global problem now that we need to work in a global environment," he said. "In the past, we may have been, frankly, stymied because we ran into a brick wall because of a lack of resources or connections, or couldn't get some level of international cooperation."

An international partnership is important because many sellers of pirated software "hop from one country to the next to the next," he added.

The memorandum of understanding between SIIA and FAST also has the two groups working together to lobby government officials on intellectual property issues and to research ways to best shut down software piracy operations, the groups said in a press release.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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