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Illegal filesharers to be brought to book

Court demands details of 150 pirates

The High Court yesterday ordered 10 ISPs to give up details of 150 customers accused of sharing software, according to the BBC.

The actions of these customers, deemed to be in breach of the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patent Act, have been uncovered by FAST, the Federation Against Software Theft.

The ISPs affected include BT, NTL, Telewest and Tiscali, and they are expected to provide the names and addresses of the 150 customers to the courts over the next two weeks.

FAST has singled out the alleged miscreants using its online tracking system, codenamed Operation Tracker. According to its site the system allows it "to trace both the people making software available illegally and the library of what they have on offer".

The focus of Operation Tracker has been to single out the corporations and businesses where illegal filesharing takes place rather than pursuing individuals.

"Staff take advantage of their employers' high-speed internet access and large storage capabilities in their enterprises for illegal filesharing," claims FAST on its site. It goes on to say that the directors of organisations where this goes on have to take responsibility for this.

John Lovelock, director general of FAST, is quoted as saying: "Most respectable company directors would not walk out of a high-street computer store with a software CD stuffed up their jumper."

Anyone found to be in contravention of the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patent Act could face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine. And it seems the 150 customers tracked by FAST could be just the tip of the iceberg.

According to the Business Software Alliance, more than a quarter of software used in this country is illegal – although this claim has been questioned by The Economist.

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