PAPT celebrates 4 years of software anti-piracy success since inception: PAPT vows continued enforcement against errant businesses that ignore call to use only genuine licensed software
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) reports on the success of the PAPT’s campaign against software piracy during the recent press conference to celebrate its fourth anniversary. Above photo shows (L-R) Atty. Bien Marquez, Consultant for the Philippines of the Business Software Alliance, Atty. Cyrus Paul Valenzuela, Legal Division Chief of the OMB, Atty. Rickson Chiong, Deputy Director for Special Investigation Service of the NBI, PSSupt. Benito Estipona, Deputy Chief for Operations of the PNP-CIDG and Mr. John Lesaca, Chairman of the Intellectual Property Coalition.

Manila, Philippines – The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), a government-led coalition set up to curb software piracy in the country, composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), continues to make a headway in its crusade against the use of pirated and unlicensed software in businesses nationwide. The PAPT celebrates 4 years of software anti-piracy success since its inception in 2005.

The PAPT is considered a unique initiative in addressing piracy problems. It marked the first time in the enforcement of anti-piracy laws in the Asia Pacific region that three different government agencies came together in a unified stance against software piracy. Software piracy is a crime punishable with up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to one million pesos under the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293). The creation of the PAPT gave the law more teeth in going after Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Code violators.

Since its inception in August 2005, the PAPT has already conducted 129 raids against businesses belonging to different sectors across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao that were suspected of using pirated and unlicensed software. The raids resulted in the seizures of computers loaded with unlicensed and pirated software, as well as pirated installers with a total estimated value of almost 315 million pesos. Aside from the raids, the PAPT, through the OMB, has also conducted routine unannounced visits on more than 80 businesses nationwide to check if they were using pirated and unlicensed software in their business operations. Among the areas that were visited by the OMB were the key business districts in Metro Manila, North and Central Luzon, South Luzon and Cebu.

The PAPT has also sent out letters to businesses nationwide reminding them to check their use of software. Sending out letter advisories is part of the PAPT’s awareness campaign against the use of unlicensed software. The PAPT encourages companies to self-regulate and protect their businesses against the detrimental effects of using pirated software.

“The last four years has witnessed an all-out war declared by the PAPT against businesses using pirated and unlicensed software. We want to assure the public that the PAPT’s battle against software piracy will continue unabated. We will work even harder to ensure that all businesses comply with the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines,” said OMB Chairman Eduardo Manzano.

“Software piracy is not just a criminal offense, but a major stumbling block to the country’s economic progress,” Manzano underscored. “It has resulted in revenue losses for the information technology (IT) industry, the loss of thousands of actual and potential jobs in the industry and others dependent on it, and the loss of millions of pesos of tax revenues for the government which it could have used to further stimulate the economy and hasten its recovery.”
The PAPT, according to NBI Director Nestor Mantaring, continues to implement new strategies and innovative methods in going after businesses using unlicensed and pirated software. “We will give these businesses no respite and leave them with no other recourse but to legalize their software. The legal risks to software piracy are high, with the constant threats of raids by the PAPT,” Mantaring pointed out.

“The PAPT is committed doing two things: protect the IPR of software developers, and aid the Philippine economic recovery by substantially reducing the software piracy rate. Through our intensified enforcement operations and educational campaigns, we are committed making business owners realize that they are not only robbing the intellectual property (IP) of the software developers, but also robbing thousands of Filipinos of the jobs and opportunities in the IT sector,” Mantaring further stated.

Earlier this year, the PAPT launched the Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late Campaign, an awareness campaign targeted at companies using unlicensed software. Featured in the campaign collaterals were the images of the heads of the three agencies – NBI Director Nestor Mantaring, OMB Chairman Edu Manzano and PNP Police Director General Jesus Verzosa – offering a series of messages that warn of the consequences of software piracy.

“The Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late! Campaign has given us a new opportunity to educate businesses on the proper and legal use of software, and at the same time, send a strong message that doing otherwise exposes the company to legal risks. Business owners, if found guilty of using pirated software, must be ready to face stiff penalties, and even imprisonment,” said PNP-CIDG Director Raul Castaneda.

The Intellectual Property (IP) Coalition and Business Software Alliance (BSA), two organizations supporting the government’s cause of fighting software piracy, lauded the progress made by the three enforcement agencies. According to the 5th global software piracy study conducted by IDC and released in May 2009, the software piracy rate in the Philippines remained at 69% from 2007 to 2008. However, losses in the industry had increased from US$147 million in 2007 to US$202 million in 2008 as PC sales and usage in the country grew at a much higher rate. When the PAPT was launched in 2005, the PC software piracy rate in the Philippines was at 71%.

BSA consultant for the Philippines Atty. Bien Marquez cited PAPT’s significant contribution in bringing down the software piracy rate in the country. “The interplay of enforcement, education and policy initiatives is crucial in eliminating software piracy in the country. PAPT’s enforcement operations and educational initiatives have been instrumental in intensifying the country’s fight against software piracy,” reported Marquez.

John Lesaca, Chairman of the IP Coalition, noted that PAPT’s enforcement actions were crucial in developing a strong framework of respect for IPR in the country. “Through their enforcement operations, the PAPT is not only protecting the intellectual property of software developers but more importantly they are creating awareness on the importance of giving respect and importance to IP. This is a significant step towards changing the mindset of the Filipinos towards intellectual property and eventually establishing a strong IP framework in the country,” Lesaca concluded.

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


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