The Federation Against Software Theft has welcomed research into intellectual property infringement in the workplace.


The ‘Hidden Marketplace' report was conducted by the UK Intellectual Property Office and revealed that 28 per cent of respondents do not have a formal policy in place to advise staff that they should not download digital content from the internet without the copyright owners' permission, or paying for it.


Meanwhile only 45 per cent of those questioned had formal policies in place to forbid illegal activity, while six per cent said that they allowed staff to download or file-share copyrighted material.


Finally, 19 per cent stated that their organisation carried out internal checks less than once a year to ensure all business software was properly licensed, while 33 per cent did not know how often or if their organisation carried out these checks.


John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST, said: “This research was essential to demonstrate to government the attitude and ignorance to IP theft in the workplace as they have disputed the reported losses to UK industry for years.

“At last we now have a report which is both independent and comprehensive, spanning the entire breadth of IP in the UK workplace and the findings back up what we in IP protection have been saying for years. It is a very real and present threat, one that is endemic and one that appears to be consistently swept under the carpet by organisations large and small alike.

“This report confirms that the issue of under – or indeed over – licensing is of major concern not only to the software industry, but to business in general. Government now has to sit up and listen and respond accordingly.”