RealNews

War on Warez

Managers of websites offering illegal business software could face criminal proceedings under new laws due to come into effect from the end of this month, the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) warned yesterday. The new law, precipitated by the EU’s Information Society Directive, makes it an offence to “communicate to the public” copyright works, such as software, if the person knew or had reason to believe that this would infringe copyright. Until now, UK copyright legislation (principally the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) has been directed to illegal dealing in physical articles – such as CD Roms – rather than Warez (illegal software) sites as such. In general, according to FAST, ISPs have taken down websites used for distribution of illegal software. However, mirror-sites can easily be established. Copyright enforces are pleased at the forthcoming introduction of law that allows them to target running pirate sites directly. The new law (Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003) “offers the prospect of up to a two year jail term and fine to companies running such sites”, according to Fast. The law also makes any director, officer or manager of companies operating such sites liable under the same offence. Full Story

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