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software pirates in the workplace

By justmakingit ·
I had until recently held an IT postion within a small organization that contained only pirated software. Since I was the sole IT person within the organization, I confronted the director and told them that all of the software was illegal and that there would be dire consequences it was brought to the attention of Microsoft, Adobe etc. The director didn't want to hear anything about it and was told to forget about it because no one would find out. My question is this... do I, as an IT professional, have the responsibility to confront large manufacturers showing the illegal software? And does it come down on me if they are caught?

Thanks,

Dennis

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Silence may equal conspiracy

by stress junkie In reply to software pirates in the w ...

If you live in the United States then certain "recent"
legislation such as the DMCA and the Patriot Act may
make you eligible to be charged with conspiracy to
commit software piracy if you don't speak out.
Additionally since you were the only IT guy at the site
you might also qualify for charges of actual piracy. And
if you don't rat out the company then you might also
be charged with implied sins of omission, something
like what Martha Stewart was recently convicted of
doing. Actually she stated to the Feds that she wasn't
guilty of a crime while in your case you are simply not
saying anything to the Feds. But if you've ever had a
girlfriend then you know that not saying anything is
the same as a lie. This whole legal situation in the
United States reminds me of when I was a pup many
decades ago we were told about the horrors of living in
the Soviet Union where neighbors and even children
had to rat out parents and neighbors or be sent to the
gulag. The same was true about the Gestapo during
Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. That's the
situation in the United States now.

Before you think about bringing this matter to the
attention of law enforcement I think you should get an
attorney to make a deal for personal immunity from
prosecution for you. And you should have tried to hide
your real name in this forum a bit better.

When I was in high school so many decades ago I had
a teacher that said that the Soviet Union was becoming
more like the United States and that the United States
was becoming more like the Soviet Union. Apparently
that trend continued all these years. Pretty soon if you
want to live in a free society you will have to move to
Russia.

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What about in th UK

by nicktheman33 In reply to Silence may equal conspir ...

Hi I am having the same problem. What laws are there in the UK regarding this issue?

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Uk legislation

by johna_smith In reply to What about in th UK

I think you will find that piracy, within Companies, in the UK has the following penalties;

?10,000 pound fine and upto 5 years imprisonment.
The company board or the managing directory are held responsible, each member can be fined

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...and IT managers

by nicktheman33 In reply to Uk legislation

What is the penalty for an IT administrator / manager if he/she does not inform the director etc... And what is the penalty if they do inform the director but they refuse to comply?

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Get Licensed FAST

by SlogginIT In reply to ...and IT managers

The current penalties in the UK is actually unlimited fines, and up to 2 years imprisonment.

A site I use for a Benchmark is www.fast.org.uk

Thats the FAST site (Federation Against Software Theft), a body created to raise awareness of Software Piracy in businesses.

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FAST

by Choppit In reply to Uk legislation

About 18 months ago a FAST officer dropped in on me for an eductational visit. According to him the UK penalty is a maximum of ?10,000 per offence and/or 6 months in prison. This applies to both the Director and Manager responsible for IT.

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Beware

by Choppit In reply to FAST

Your software licencing obligations don't necessarily stop once you pay for the licence. Any updates/patches you apply can supersede the original licencing agreement putting you in breach of conditions. Also, software manufacturers can consider your licence invalid if your vendor isn't approved to sell the software to you in the first place.

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I have been through this

by Caractacus Potts In reply to Uk legislation

You have to make a judgment call. Whose arse is on the line if the compnay gets caught? If it's your's then you have to take out some insurance, because you'll get the blame for it if you get caught. What is the company's financial position? If the company can afford to pay the licences then it should. Senior Managers and CEOs don't understand that IT comes at a cost (an ongoing and sometimes increasing cost) and they have to pay the piper. If you can tip off FAST I would if I were you, but your boss will probably know it was you. Otherwise find some articles from FAST about their prosecutions and try to persuade your boss about the merits of paying for the licences.

Good Luck.

Kevin

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ah..yeah

by jkaras In reply to software pirates in the w ...

In business you have to be legit. Do you have any certs? Because if you do and your work is caught yours will get stripped and banned for life towards any test. I dont envy your position, if you rat on the boss no one will trust you, if you stay there is risk, if you leave you have to start all over. I personally would start looking for other employment if I were there it is too much liability but understand the job market these days. My room mate has illegal servers at his work that they all stress over, each take turns hiding the server when audits come around and he works for just about the largest health insurance company. It's wrong to have this practice at work but it happens more often than not. One or two daliances is one thing but an entire network? Wow, major nads, your boss really likes to live dangerously.

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CYA

by makins In reply to ah..yeah

I have first hand experience with a BSA audit on a client of mine. More than likley, the BSA will not go after your certs but do not take solice in this because it is possible. You should instead CYA. Send an email to your boss and your bosses boss informing them of the situation. Afterall, it is your responsibility as the IT director to ensure compliance with all applicable laws. In this email, emphasize that just once copywright violation can cost their organization a $100,000 fine. Now multiply this figure times the amount of software that you need to purchase. (Nuff Said). Now save this email and their response for a rainy day. You should also put this too them in simple terms. Ask them if they would like a new lexis. Then ask them if you should go out and steel one for them. When they look at you funny, just mention that steeling software amounts to the same thing. Wrong is wrong, no matter how much spin you put on it.

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