Schools, banks, hospitals found using pirated software in PAPT Visayas crackdown
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

 Bacolod City, Philippines–Staying true to its promise of targeting all forms of businesses, the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) recently conducted routine inspections on various organizations in Bacolod City and Iloilo City and found not just internet cafes but rural banks, schools particularly universities, and hospitals to be using unlicensed software in their business premises. The inspections were preceded by a 20-day countdown to action announced through ads in local newspapers.

Optical Media Board (OMB) Executive Director, Atty. Cyrus Valenzuela expressed disappointment that these establishments, especially the rural banks and schools, comprised the majority of the establishments found to be using pirated software.

“Banks and schools especially are supposed to be paragons of honesty and respect for the law. And yet, using unlicensed software is tantamount to cheating and stealing. How could the banks maintain the trust and confidence of their clients, and schools the high regard of their students and their parents, if they are found to be the first to break the law?” Valenzuela lamented.

“As the venue for the education of future professionals and leaders, the schools and their respective administrators are responsible for setting a good example not just to their students but also to other local businesses. In fact, the academe plays an important role in teaching the value of respecting and protecting intellectual property rights to the students. Now they have been found to be doing the opposite,” the OMB official pointed out.

As for the rural banks, Valenzuela had this to say: “If our local banks cannot even invest on licensed software to ensure the reliability and security of their operations, how can people be sure of their financial integrity? Their being caught using pirated software seems contradictory to the memorandum issued recently by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for all financial institutions in the country to use only licensed software in their operations.”

More than 30 business establishments were visited by OMB in the two cities. The owners and administration staff of the companies found to be using illegal software face possible criminal and administrative charges for violation of RA 8293 also known as the Intellectual Property code of the Philippines and RA 9239, the Optical Media Act. The PAPT will now continue their crackdown drive in Mindanao area in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

Software piracy is a serious crime that is tantamount to fraud and theft. Violators shall be subject to criminal sanctions of up to nine (9) years in jail and a fine of up to one million five hundred thousand Philippine pesos (Php 1.5M).

For more information on PAPT campaigns and details on the PAPT countdown, call the PAPT Secretariat at (02) 692-9516 or visit www.papt.org.ph.


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