Suppliers ease up on licensing crackdowns

Summary:The head of the Federation Against Software Theft says vendors want to move away from the heavy-handed approach of forcing software audits on companies, towards working more closely with customers

Software suppliers are to ease up on licensing crackdowns and move away from the draconian audits of the past, says the industry's UK lobby group.

The head of the Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) says vendors want to move away from the heavy-handed approach of forcing software audits on companies, towards working more closely with customers.

In the past Fast has threatened to take schools to court if they did not comply with software-licence agreements.

That heavy-handed approach by Fast and other bodies such as the Business Software Alliance has, in the past, angered UK businesses.

But Fast recently launched the Software Industry Research Board (Sirb) in collaboration with major vendors such as Microsoft to simplify software licensing for companies.

Chief executive of Fast, John Lovelock, said it would help bridge the gap between software vendors and users.

He said: "We can get this collaboration going between vendor and user and establish best practice, rather than using a stick to ensure compliance.

"There is a little bit of fear around, partly because of what Fast has done in the past. Six or seven years ago vendors were quite aggressive with regards to licensing."

But a spokesman for blue chip IT user group the Corporate IT Forum, said a recent poll of its members found most companies were now well versed on SAM (software asset management) and did not need the help of organisations such as Fast.

He said: "Corporate understanding of SAM is highly advanced and appears now to often surpass what Fast can offer. At the moment, Fast doesn't seem to tell IT professionals much that they don't already know."

The Sirb has commissioned a survey of private and public organisations to discover their attitudes and understanding of licensing and what changes they would make to their software asset and licensing management.

Topics: Tech Industry

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Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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