PAPT finds many cases of under-licensing in software usage in NL crackdown; warns companies to comply with licensing agreements or face charges
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
03 April 2012, Manila, Philippines–The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) led by the Optical Media Board (OMB) found numerous cases where businesses were using more software than they had purchased licenses for, in the first leg of its crackdown campaign in Northern Luzon. PAPT warns erring companies that such misuse is as much a crime as use of pirated software.
The PAPT recently launched a more intensified campaign against software piracy this year in the provinces of Pampanga and Zambales. The OMB team inspected various businesses, banks, schools and other manufacturing, service and commercial establishments, including those located in economic zones in the two provinces after a 30-day countdown of announcements in local newspapers.
OMB Executive Director Atty. Cyrus Valenzuela bewailed the fact that many companies in these areas were also using software in environments where the software license did not extend usage to. For example, a number of schools have been caught using software for educational purposes only in the business side of their operations, and gaining unfair cost advantage over legitimate business competitors.
The companies that were suspected of being under-licensed or not adhering with the terms and conditions of their licensing agreement were asked to submit documents to the OMB to prove that they were compliant. Valenzuela warned the companies to take the necessary corrective measures so that they need not worry when they are subjected to further inspections in the future.
Software piracy is a violation of Republic Act 9239 or the Optical Media Act and is a crime punishable by up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to P1.5 million under Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
“The software piracy rate has stagnated at 69% over the past few years, whilst the value of pirated software has gradually increased to a high of $278 million in 2010. Imagine if the piracy rate were lower, how many more jobs would have been generated and how much more taxes would the government have enjoyed as a result of legitimate sales generated by the software industry,” Valenzuela pointed out.
“We are intensifying our campaign not just to help promote our country’s economic progress but also to protect honest, law-abiding businesses from being subjected to unfair competition from those who use illegal software. With a level-playing field, everyone – the businesses, their employees, the consumers, the whole country – benefits,” the OMB executive emphasized.
The PAPT will continue to inspect Northern Luzon further in the coming days, after which it will go south to visit key cities in Central Visayas to go after businesses that may also be under-licensed or not complying with their software licensing agreements.
The PAPT was formed in 2005 in order to establish an integrated and coordinated effort by the government to counteract the negative effects of software piracy on the local IT industry and the economy. The original members of the PAPT include the National Bureau Investigation, Philippine National Police and Optical Media Board. In September 2011, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) joined the PAPT to reinforce the campaign to protect intellectual property rights in the country.
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.