Software piracy crackdown starts in North and Central Luzon
Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shown here are agents of the Optical Media Board examining the authenticity of the software CD installer during the recent inspections against the use of unlicensed and pirated software in businesses in Pampanga. The OMB routine inspections is part of the PAPT’s Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late! Campaign.

Pampanga, Philippines – Agents of the Optical Media Board (OMB) swooped down on offices in Pampanga recently, commencing the crackdown of the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) against businesses using unlicensed and pirated software in North and Central Luzon. Armed with Inspection Orders signed by OMB Chairman Edu Manzano, several businesses in San Fernando, Mabalacat, and Angeles City in Pampanga were inspected by the OMB agents, to check the legality of their software.

The OMB routine inspection signals the end of the 20-day grace period for businesses in North and Central Luzon that was earlier declared by the PAPT. This immunity period offered businesses in the said areas time to review their software and acquire sufficient software licenses to operate legally.

“Aside from film and music, software is one of the most pirated optical media in the Philippines. What the public fails to see is that software piracy is not only a serious crime but it is also a major deterrent to our country’s economic progress,” said OMB Chairman Manzano.

The OMB inspections resulted in the seizure of computers loaded with unlicensed and pirated copies of software from some of the inspected businesses that are operating inside the Clark Economic Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga. Those that were found to have insufficient licenses for their software were given 30 days by the OMB to correct this problem and submit an inventory of their computers and software to the OMB office. Those who fail to comply will be subjected to the necessary legal actions.

“We commend the management of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) for their cooperation and assistance during this activity. We acknowledge the importance of partnering with offices especially those regulating the economic zones in the country like the CDC to help their tenants comply with the country’s IPR laws,” Manzano said.

Earlier this year, the PAPT launched the “Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!” campaign to highlight the negative implications of the use of illegal software, and of software piracy to the Philippine economy.

A study undertaken by International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2008 that looked at the economic benefits derived from a reduction in software piracy found that reducing the PC software piracy rate by 10 percentage points over the next four years could generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs globally, and billions of dollars in economic growth. Another study conducted by IDC in 2008 found that software piracy in 2007 robbed the Philippine IT industry almost 7 billion pesos in potential revenues as PC sales and usage in the country grew at a much higher rate.

“As the pain of the global financial crisis bites into the Philippine economy, the call to fight software piracy and protect the future of our local IT sector is louder than ever,” Manzano said.

The PAPT has also sent out letters to businesses in Luzon reminding them that software piracy is a crime and under the IP Code of the Philippines, perpetrators of software copyright infringement is punishable by up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to 1.5 million pesos.

The OMB, together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are members of the PAPT, a governmentled initiative to curb software piracy in the Philippines. The Team is supported by the Intellectual Property (IP) Coalition and the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

The PAPT continues to receive information against businesses that are allegedly utilizing pirated and unlicensed software in business operations through its website, www.papt.org.ph. Aside from the PAPT website, software piracy reports can also be lodged through the BSA hotline, (02) 895-6438 and 1-800-10-BSA-HTLN (1-800-10-272-4856, toll free). The BSA offers a reward of up to 1 million pesos for substantive reports on businesses suspected of using unlicensed software.

For more information about the PAPT and the “Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!” campaign, call the PAPT Secretariat at (02) 692-9516 or visit www.papt.org.ph.


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