The Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) has warned companies that their IT departments might be leaving them open to court action.
In a recent investigation of a UK financial services firm, the organisation found 5,800 illegal digital music files in a software audit of 2,500 PCs. The vast majority of these had been downloaded by members of the firm's IT department.
"Directors must not allow themselves to be fobbed off by IT staff as they can also be the culprits," said John Lovelock, director general at Fast.
"Company directors need to have a firm grip on their technically able IT staff. All too often IT policy enforcement and management is left solely to the IT department in the belief that, when IT staff say that correct licences are in place, they are."
The news comes a month after the launch of Fast's Operation Tracker, which logs illegal downloads and traces them back before starting legal proceedings.
"In the case of misuse of software, directors cannot plead ignorance. If their staff are using the corporate network for illegal activity, those in charge may be liable," warned Lovelock.
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