Innovative advertising campaign launched on Facebook to drive reports of software misuse
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has taken to social media to drive home its message that software misuse does not pay. Building on the success of an initial trial on Facebook earlier this year, the anti-piracy body has launched a range of adverts on the platform and other social media to encourage individuals to report software misuse in their organisation.
The campaign not only aims to drive traffic to the FAST website – and therefore highlight a confidential route for whistle-blowers – but also to raise awareness of the broader issue of software misuse in the office environment.
Alex Hilton, FAST’s CEO, commented: “Software misuse and efforts to secure an unfair trading advantage have become increasingly sophisticated, which means we must continue to evolve our tactics to protect the IP of all software developers, both large and small. We took the decision to launch this latest advertising campaign across Facebook as a direct result of the shift that is taking place in how and where people are consuming media content. This is the first time we have undertaken a campaign on such a scale across social media and the trial results are already highly promising, with a dramatic uplift in web traffic as well as reports coming in to our 100% confidential advice service,”
“Our message is clear: it is not just the software publishers who suffer from software misuse, the corporate user is often left in a precarious position, running the risk of numerous corporate network malware vulnerabilities and with no access to support. The impact on mid-level IT staff should not be dismissed as they fear being implicated together with the End User infringer and feel powerless to protect their reputations if get mixed up in the wrong doing. Our campaign therefore, appeals directly to the person in the IT department being told to ignore flagrant software misuse in the business, through to the office manager who fears for their own position and reputation,” he added.
In 1984 FAST became the UK’s first software anti-piracy organisation to campaign for changes to the copyright law on behalf of the software industry. However, the software and IP landscapes have shifted significantly since the industry body first launched. Over the past 30 years the industry body has launched a number of new educational and whistleblowing initiatives, this being the latest.
Alex Hilton added: “According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sports, in 2012 the Creative Economy accounted for one out of every 12 jobs in the UK and specifically the IT software and computer services sector accounted for the employment of 791,000 people. With such a large UK workforce focused on technology, innovation and services, the number of software development companies has dramatically risen. So our message is not just about individuals protecting their personal reputations, but calling on them to do the right thing for British innovation and British jobs.
“Workers should be aware of their rights when it comes to doing the right thing. You are protected. If you believe that software is being used in the workplace illegally, and in particular, with the knowledge of a manager responsible and/or a Director, then get in touch with FAST to make a report in confidence,” he concluded.
To be protected as a whistle-blower you need to make a ‘qualifying disclosure’. This could be a disclosure about:
failure to comply with a legal obligation
miscarriages of justice
threats to an individual’s health and safety
damage to the environment
a deliberate attempt to cover up any of the above
If you would like to make a report to FAST about an organisation using unlicensed software please use the form at the link below. Please complete as much as you can.
Your contact details are important to allow FAST investigators to contact you should further information be required. Should you have any queries, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or make a report online at: www.fast.org/your-company-using-software-illegally
NOTES TO EDITORS
FAST is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee and wholly owned by its members. It works on many fronts to promote the legitimate use of software and protect its members’ rights through education, enforcement, lobbying and promoting standards and best practice in business.