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back to article 'Do the right thing and tell on a pirate' - software bods

Anyone in the West Country yearning to dob in a work colleague for illegally downloading software should take heart that a Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) roadshow is coming to a town near you. An anti-piracy whistleblower campaign is kicking off in cider country next month, starting at an event in Bristol where FAST, …

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Holmes

Police involved in crime investigation shock horror!!

Mr Plod shows an interest in something to do with tech crime? Does this mean that they will be investigating credit card fraud and identity theft now?

Or is a certain amount of "corporate sponsorhip" required to elicit the required response.

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Coat

Re: Police involved in crime investigation shock horror!!

Yes it would seem our once beloved plod has now become the private army of the corporate establishment, especially those of the copyright cartel inclination. Remember Beardy Branson's donation to the police benevolent fund ? Note brown envelope in pocket icon.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9061383/Private-firms-give-UK-police-forces-millions-of-pounds-to-investigate-crimes.html

Disclaimer: I am in no way a swivel eyed tory voting loon who reads the Daily nazigraph, it just came out top on Google.

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Linux

Yes, do the right thing

Switch to FOSS software for free, easy* license compliance!

(*note: I am talking about for using the software in an office, not bundling it with your commercial offerings, that's where it tends to get complex)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes, do the right thing

have you ever tried that in an actual office environment? if so, I'd love to know how you accomplished it.

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Anonymous Coward

Why are they using taking up police time?

Copyright law is contract law. Its not criminal law. The police should only be involved when a judge tell them to.

The police should not be used as corporate enforcers.

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Re: Why are they using taking up police time?

Yeah - but if they are making copies of the software and selling it that could easily be counterfeiting which is a criminal offence.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why are they using taking up police time?

Copyright infringement for profit is a criminal matter.

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Re: Why are they using taking up police time?

I thought copyright infringement was a civil offence?

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Re: Why are they using taking up police time?

Copyright infringement is separated into two different areas. Primary infringement, and (you guessed it...) secondary infringement. The former covers the actual act of copying, and is a civil offence, whereas the latter involves dealing with copied works - including selling, or othewise using for profit, and (key here), possesion in the course of business. Primary infringement is a civil matter, so you can just be liable for damages etc. whereas secondary infringement is worse than pedophilia in the state's eyes and can result in hundreds of years in prison (in the USA at least).

Funny world we live in.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: Why are they using taking up police time?

> I thought copyright infringement was a civil offence?

Things have changed...

Section 107 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 says :-

A person commits an offence who, without the licence of the copyright owner—

(a)makes for sale or hire, or

(b)imports into the United Kingdom otherwise than for his private and domestic use, or

(c)possesses in the course of a business with a view to committing any act infringing the copyright, or

(d)in the course of a business —

(i)sells or lets for hire, or

(ii)offers or exposes for sale or hire, or

(iii)exhibits in public, or

(iv)distributes, or

(e)distributes otherwise than in the course of a business to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright,

an article which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe is, an infringing copy of a copyright work.

It's evil legislation, but it criminalises commercial copyright infringement.

Vic.

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Devil

Charming

Do they also guarantee anonymity for snitching on your co-workers?

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Silver badge

Re: Charming

They do suggest that you'll get a tax receipt and a job, so no, anonymity wouldn't work.

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Pirate

Yep - bring it on!

Of course we should snitch on pirates - oh how I wish the media would highlight those bandits who stole 25 years retrospective extra copyright fees from us. Naturally no compensation to the originator of the work (who were mostly dead anyway).

Another victory for the lobby thieves ... if only Shakespeare had signed up with Sony we would be paying them for every sonnet ever recited!

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A mouthpiece at FAST told us that "staff are motivated to blow the whistle to limit their potential exposure to criminal offences and to 'do the right thing'."

Have I missed some major changes or is that complete FUD? AFAIK it's not a criminal offence to not grass someone up for installing unlicensed software. Hell, I'm not sure it's even a criminal offence to simply be the one using it on a work pc.

@AC 11:16 (were no posts when I started typing!) Copyright Infringement can be a criminal offence in the UK, but it does require a certain set of circumstances. Agree it's an un-necessary waste of plod hours though

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Silver badge

Under new laws, about to be brought in by the lobbyists, failing to inform the police about your possible suspicions will be a 'lack-of-thought crime'.

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Big Brother

"I he clicks on something, say something!"

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Silver badge

Under the new law ...

... mothers giving birth will be required to propel the new born through a hoop covered with paper imprinted with a EULA. Rupturing the paper signifies acceptance of the agreement by the infant who will also be required to bear a middle name from the following shortlist: Excel, Adobe, Sage, and of course, Sweatybaldman

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g e
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Coat

FAST, BSA - Do the right thing - steal their lunch...

Switch to Open Source.

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Silver badge

Just report every MS backoffice setup

they are almost certainly running unlicensed software - not intentionally perhaps but I've yet to meet anyone who says they understand microsoft licensing with any confidence - and that include MS employees when I've bothered to ask them to explain.

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Bronze badge

Re: Just report every MS backoffice setup

My guess (a wild guess as I have almost nothing to do with MS software) is that many may be "overlicensed".

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Gav
Mushroom

Re: Just report every MS backoffice setup

No one has ever been able to state with confidence that they are 100% legal while using any kind of volume Microsoft licensing. The licensing is insanely complicated and riddled with so many hedging of terms and impenetrable waffle that the best you can do is make a best guess at it and hope no-one challenges you. And yes, that confusion does extend to Microsoft employees. Last conversation I ever had with Microsoft about this concluded that it was up to me to decide what Microsoft licensing I needed and how it applied to me. They wouldn't help. This meant that if anyone later decided I'd got it wrong, it was 100% my fault, not theirs. Which was nice of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just report every MS backoffice setup

@Gav

I've had the exact same experience with MS licensing (nice patient people, it must be sad to have that as a job), and they ended up saying the same thing - it was up to me to decide what applied to our organisation. Scary that, what with the likes of BSA and FAST depending on punitive audit-based fines for their existence.

Adobe on the other hand, while their stuff is fiendishly expensive, are pretty straightforward when it comes to licensing.

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FAIL

Somthing to do at lunch

Whoo. Time to go down to 'vuh senterrrrgh' (the centre) and laugh at an empty stall manned by thought police wannabes.

They'd better have free gifts. I want a FACT baseball cap.

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Joke

Re: Somthing to do at lunch

Then you can cross out the A and tippex in a U :oD

In fact if they're free can you bag me one (or more)

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Silver badge

Re: Somthing to do at lunch

If they're not free, just run off a couple of copies

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Anonymous Coward

Now if only they'd actually take action when you report a large corporation using a fortune in pirated software, they might actually get results.

What do you mean "but they have money for layers to defend themselves"?

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Big Brother

Remember kids

People are either a criminal or a thought criminal, may as well dob them in now.

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Silver badge

If every pirate was grassed up...

... there wouldn't be many people left. I expect most people in computing have used pirated software at one point or another.

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Stop

staff are motivated to blow the whistle to limit their potential exposure to criminal offences

This is a worrying statement. Taken at face value, it reads as if you, as an employee, may be liable for using the company's dodgy software. If so, why the hell is liability falling on the employee? Is it their job to police the rubbish the company installs on their machines? In some cases, how is the employee even supposed to know what is and is not legitimate?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: staff are motivated to blow the whistle to limit their potential exposure to criminal offences

It is a criminal offence to know about a crime being committed and not report it, so if a company is profiting from illegal use of software, it's entirely possible that everyone who knowingly uses that software in the company is liable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: staff are motivated to blow the whistle to limit their potential exposure to criminal offences

'it's entirely possible that everyone who knowingly uses that software in the company is liable.'

Only if they know it's pirated. I have no idea, much less care if this box I'm using has a valid windows/office/etc licence. I don't work in procurements.

Besides from that, there will be loads of infringement on 'freeware' stuff because people assume that because they can download and install it for free at home, they can do so on their work pc, a lot of the time this is not the case. We have a list somewhere buried in the bowels of our intranet (in the sort of way it's almost as if they don't want you to find it) that states freeware we can and can't use. It wouldn't have been hard to be an infringer, put it that way.

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Re: staff are motivated to blow the whistle to limit their potential exposure to criminal offences

"It is a criminal offence to know about a crime being committed and not report it"

No it is not. There are a number of exceptions to this, but they are few and mainly focus on terrorism and child sex abuse.

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That gives me an idea

Can't we bury these muppets under reports of not-for-commercial-use freeware?

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MJI
Silver badge

I want to report someone

"Hello I want to report a pirate."

"OK where?"

"Off the coast of Somalia."

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Anonymous Coward

The thing that a lot of people miss who seem to think it's ok to just copy whatever software you want, because "y'know only big business suffers and even then, I wouldn't have bought it, it costs too much" is that: Taking copies of commercial software when there are intendant vendors or FOSS vendors producing competitor products, enormously harms those competitor products.

Put simply: Taking whatever commercial software you want harms FOSS.

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Anonymous Coward

Commercial software is actually what drove me to FOSS.

Word added the ribbon, I added OpenOffice.

Photoshop cost an arm and a leg, I added Paint.NET

Visual Studio proffesional is insanely expensive... I jsut use express >.>

Windows 8 is shitty(imo), I put MINT onto new computers now

3DSMax is expensive and complex, I install Blender, which is just as complex if not moreso, but free.

Aside from the OS and games, I don't have a single piece of 'paid for' software on my PC anymore. And as soon as I can play all my games in Mint, I probably won't have the OS on my pricey list either. So long as they get Netflix and Sky Go working in Linux mind you.

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Anonymous Coward

Hobbyist by any chance?

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Anonymous Coward

If I ratted out all of my friends that have ever pirated software/music/movies before, I'd be a very lonely person.

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Silver badge

Think I'll turn up in a Copyright Infringement isn't theft t-shirt

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Devil

Watch it! They'll start doing people for "Incitement to commit copyright infringement" next!

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Devil

IANAE

FTFA : "The commercial value of this equates to £1.5bn annually, claimed FAST chief executive Alex Hilton, and this is cash he reckoned is "taken out of investment, taken out of tax receipts and taken out of job creation".

I'm not an Economist, and I don't get it. Wouldn't that money then be spent in another way, going into the economy by another route? And as we are talking largely Microsoft, Adobe and other foreign software companies, maybe that money is more likely to end up in the Bristol/UK economy rather than going abroad via Amazon to make the likes of Gates and Balmer even richer.

Devil's advocate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IANAE

I think the money would be parked in an account in Ireland?

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Flame

Re: IANAE

Of course.

Someone from dim & slow-witted country thinks that people have a money printing machine like a Central Bank and thus should be forced to keynesianistically pump it out to increase GDP. Similar ideas can be heard from 5-year olds and Krugman. Doesn't mean they make any sense.

Guess he's just shilling for the software rent seekers though (who brought us such nice presents like software patents and similar rapes of Joe Public) who have marginal production costs anyway, so don't expect a job to be created for a guy to watch the shrink-wrapping machine if you shell out for overpriced buggy stuff.

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Holmes

Re: IANAE

> I think the money would be parked in an account in Ireland?

Which would be cool too. That would be savings. Savings decrease the cost of borrowed money (i.e. interest rates). Hence investments can take off. Of course, in these fairy tale days of neverending bubbles, interest rates are kept low by ministerial decree followed by printing press noises, which causes inflation, puts the economy on amphetamine (no teeth after a decade or so) and nukes your pension scheme. But hey, that's pretty complex for people to understand. And the minister can take a hefty wank because he "helped the economy", natch.

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Bronze badge

That's the spirit - we want to see more of this

"Do the right thing and tell on a software pirate."

Next, very popular with little old ladies:

"Do the right thing and tell on a terrorist."

Now, since all methods are valid in this struggle:

"Do the right thing and tell on a tax-dodger."

Take advantage of the momentum at local level:

"Do the right thing and tell on your neighbour if they don't sort their garbage properly."

Go a little further on this tack - why not:

"Do the right thing and tell on your neighbour if they put up a shed or do a barbecue in their garden without permission."

Let's now leverage the power of childhood:

"Do the right thing and tell on your friends at school if you notice them behaving in a way that is not sanctioned by the party."

Now go in for the kill:

"Do the right thing and tell on your parents if you hear them complain about the government."

Hey presto - a perfect society.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's the spirit - we want to see more of this

So your argument is that you should never inform on anyone committing a crime because you read ninteeneighty-four once and you think that any informers will cause society to end up like that?

You don't suppose that if criminals are allowed to get away with anything because no-one will inform on them that this would also be a highly undesirable society.

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Holmes

Re: That's the spirit - we want to see more of this

Then can I report approximately 650 expense-fiddlers who are also guilty of "Obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences" (pre-election claims), fraud (ditto and misuse of public funds), iffy tax/overseas trust arrangements etc. They're ALL guilty of at least one of 'em.

yes, Inspector Knacker - I can tell you where to find them:- It's a big building called "The Palace of Westminster"...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's the spirit - we want to see more of this

+1 for a quality example of the slippery slope logical fallacy - and many thanks for refraining from paraphrasing Niemöller.

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Anonymous Coward

So if I report a GPL violation...

Say I report one of the many Android devices (or NAS boxes, or media players, or...) with no kernel source available, will they get them to release the source? Or is that not the sort of copyright theft they're interested in?

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I'd just like to say

<h1>AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR!</h1>

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