Fast puts brakes on program theft

The Federation Against Software Theft (Fast), last week brought a successful criminal prosecution against Computer Component Marketing, of Altringham, Cheshire. The action concerned the importing and professional counterfeiting of Microsoft's Windows 3.11 for Workgroups operating system.

The company pleaded guilty to charges of possession and supply of counterfeit product under the Trademarks Act 1994 and the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.

The director of CCM Peter Kitson was given a conditional discharge for three years on each count and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,000.

Robin Lawrence, Fast operations manager, said that between December 1994 and January 1995 CCM had imported more than 6,000 units of counterfeit software from the Far East.

These packages were then sold into the UK distribution channels until a search warrant by officers of Greater Manchester Police and Fast, uncovered and subsequently removed a quantity of the counterfeit products.

Lawrence said: "Any dealer who trades in computer software, and fails to take responsible steps to check the legitimacy of the product, risks legal action

by Fast and the legitimate owners.

"The widespread resentment of both end-users and resellers to pirated software these days means that counterfeiters will find it increasingly difficult to trade illegally for long. This was just such a case."

Mark Roberts, Microsoft UK software theft business manager, said: "It is only by taking legal action that counterfeiters will understand we are determined to stop the spread of software theft."