02 October 2003 | David Arminas
The head of London's anti-fraud squad has warned purchasers to beware of unknowingly using or buying illegal software.
"When purchasers buy any software, they should check the validity of it and, if possible, get written undertakings from their supplier that it is genuinely sourced," said Ken Farrow, chief superintendent of the City of London Police Fraud Squad.
This follows the revelation that ICM Computer Group, an IT services and appplications provider, unknowingly sold counterfeit software to its clients.
ICM bought the goods from a manufacturer that had not purchased the software through a recommended distributor. ICM could be liable for £700,000 to replace the counterfeit copies.
In the UK, directors can face prison for involvement in piracy.
Purchasers should keep accurate records of who they bought software from, added Ken Cole, chairman of the CIPS information systems committee and a partner in consultancy Strategic Procurement Services.
"But if the software is for high-risk processes or high-profile projects, they should spend time identifying the source as legal."