UK ISPs Should Collaborate in Battle against Piracy, Software Industry Says

FAST stands for the Federation Against Software Theft and it’s a non-profit organization that fights against the use of illegal software. Recently, FAST called for help from UK’s broadband ISPs in order to avoid and combat illegal file-sharing. In John Lovelock’s opinion, the CEO of FAST, it is only natural for a collaboration between copyright holders and ISPs to take place:

“…and would ensure that SME software houses are not bankrupted by having their expensive bespoke software products shared among businesses without being paid for.”

However, politicians, consumer groups and ISPs think that Rights Holders are a bit too enthusiastic about the use of the Digital Economic Act (DEA).

“The DEA isn’t a sledgehammer to crack a nut – it’s a sledgehammer that misses the nut completely. Any legislation to combat file sharing needs to be proportionate, fair and balanced. The problems with the DEA are the cost, the ineffectiveness and the unintended consequences, such as vicarious liability”. – Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk’s Director of Strategy in a statement to the Digital Economy All-Party Parliamentary Group (DEAPPG).

FAST believes that the software industry needs its own legislation to combat copyright infringements since the DEA and the existing Copyright Act are ineffective at preventing software piracy. This, however, is in contradiction with a recent statement given by John Lovelock in early January 2011:

“Over the past few years we have seen detailed research come out from law firm Wiggin which showed that 7 out of 10 pirates would cease if they received a warning from their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The statistics clearly show that by simply applying a small amount of pressure ISPs themselves can make a huge impact on the reduction of online piracy.”

There’s no doubt that online piracy must be taken seriously, but the hard part of it is finding a viable solution. The letter warning system could be a good start, but to pin-point the actual person behind any suspicious IP can be tricky.