Clamping down on Pirates – Are you Legal?

The UK’s anti-piracy campaign against the illegal download of digital media and software is in full force. Many people and businesses have been fined already. Is your house in order?

Many business owners don’t realise that they are responsible for what their employees do on their network and computers. It’s great if you are one of those business owners that allows your staff to browse online during lunch, letting them do their personal business such as pay bills, or send an email. But did you know, they may download potential illegal software, music or videos. Even if it is not intentional or without malicious intent, you are responsible for their actions. This is why it is so important to have an IT policy in place, with content monitoring and filtering. This will not only protect you and your business, it will also help to protect your employees. They may not know it is wrong to download these items and unintentionally put them selves at risk with the added potential of accidentally downloading viruses and other malicious software.

What do you need to know?
Nothing is free, everything comes at a price. Simply put, if you download software or music/films/videos that you know you normally have to pay for in a shop, it is pirated and illegal. There are no buts, even if someone has given you the videos or music on a flash drive or CD/DVD, it is still illegal. It is like taking possession of a stolen car, driving it around and then telling a police officer you did not know it was stolen. Ignorance is not a defence.

Licensing is also a big issue. Many small businesses do not realise that when you buy PCs and/or Laptops, you need to have the correct license for your devices. This is especially applicable to Microsoft based systems. Having the correct license on your machine for your software is as important as having the correct license to drive a vehicle. Microsoft have handed out millions in fines for businesses that do not have the correct Microsoft licenses on their devices.

Legal downloading:
If you subscribe to streaming services like NetFlix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify or other legal streaming service, then you are legally allowed to watch and stream the content as a ‘paid subscription service’. Microsoft, Adobe and other big software companies now also provide their software on a subscription license basis. Do take note, it is still important that you fully understand the correct use of the software/content.

Remember, if you stream music in your office from a paid for legal service such as Spotify, does not replace your responsibility to have a proper license from PRS for music and PPL

Contact Spectrum IT Service for advice:
If you would like to know more, or would like to make sure your company is compliant and legal, speak to one of our Spectrum IT engineer. We can help by making sure you have the correct software licenses or introduce an IT policy for your users. We have also the facility to help with internet filtering and protection.

Contact Spectrum IT today.