By Claire West

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has warmly welcomed the fact that the majority of British consumers would not buy fake goods if the are made aware that the funds may go to fund crimes such as drugs and terrorism.

According to the research issued by Crimestoppers, nearly two fifths of British adults admit to having bought counterfeit goods, but the overwhelming majority (87%) would think again about a purchase if they knew that it could help fund organised crime such as human trafficking, drug dealing and terrorism.

The key findings of the research found that:

24% of UK consumers have knowingly bought a fake DVD
22% have bought a fake item of branded clothing
30% say they have bought a product which they believed to be genuine but later found out to be counterfeit.

John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST, commented: “This is another piece of research that indicates that if consumers are given all the facts about the products they are buying then they will change their purchasing habits. This is about educating consumers, using the current political language ‘nudging them’ into making the right decision. It’s called behavioural change which sticks in the mind longer than other deterrents.”

“Over the past few years we have seen detailed research come out from law firm Wiggin which showed that 7 out of 10 pirates would cease if they received a warning from their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The statistics clearly show that by simply applying a small amount of pressure ISPs themselves can make a huge impact on the reduction of online piracy. The same process can be applied to consumers of other fake and pirated goods,” he continued.

“There has always been some people who are aware that counterfeited goods fund serious crime, many do not believe this, perhaps because counterfeiting is largely seen as a victimless crime and not as an international, highly organised and extremely profitable crime which impacts on individuals and has links to serious organised crime. But we have always argued that someone will pay the price. That is why we believe educating the consumer lies at the very heart of any campaign against pirated goods.”

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has already joined forces with Trading Standards operations across the UK including Cardiff, Southampton and in the North West to support its innovative campaign to advise businesses on the issue of software misuse and how to ensure compliance.

The campaign based on a comprehensive brochure entitled ‘Software - Stay Legal’, and has seen Trading Standards teams and FAST educating businesses on a range of issues such as how to buy software, downloading, the types of products to be aware of and the legal ramifications of misuse.