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Anti-Pirates – now they're coming for your kids

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Forget the facts of life - parents now need to tell their kiddies about the facts of the Net and how pirating software could land them in trouble.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) says more and more juveniles are being fingered for pirating software and it's calling on parents to be more vigilant about their children's online activities.

In the UK, a 16-year-old still at school has been charged under the Trade Marks Act of 1994 for selling pirated software on auction web sites, while in Switzerland another minor has been prosecuted for advertising and selling pirated software on the Web.

Another Swiss youth was convicted of copyright and trademark infringement and unfair competition for selling pirated software CDs.

In all three cases courts fined those concerned and even imposed "future Internet use restrictions" although we've yet to find out what this means exactly.

"The increase in these cases is a very worrying development – it shows that today Internet crime starts early and these particular cases involved thousands of Euros," said Beth Scott, VP of BSA Europe.

"By participating in the piracy underworld not only are juveniles breaking the law but it might be the first step towards other related criminal activities – many illegal web sites contain inappropriate material including pornography and online gambling.

"In short, the danger of 'hanging-out' in cyberspace is the same as loitering in the wrong part of town. Teenagers can just as easily fall in with the wrong crowd and unintentionally become involved in other serious crimes," she said. ®

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