IPOPHL launches info campaign on benefits of using licensed software; cites need to lower software piracy rate to spur economic growth
Thursday, August 16, 2012

16 August 2012, Philippines—The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) launches today a new educational drive to address the high percentage of software piracy in the Philippines. Dubbed as “Be Aware of Your Software: Maximize the Benefits, Minimize the Risks”, the new campaign seeks to raise awareness on the proper use of software and respect for copyright owners.

From the constant 69% from 2008-2010, the Philippines’ software piracy rate rose to 70% in 2011. This translates to 7 out of 10 computers in the country contain unlicensed software.

“As the lead agency responsible for the protection of intellectual property rights in the country and as member of the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), the IPOPHL saw the need to come up with this initiative to educate businesses on the benefits to be derived from using licensed software and the risks from using pirated ones, which many of them do not yet seem to realize,” IPOPHL Director General Ricardo Blancaflor said.

Explaining the mechanics of the campaign, the IPOPHL head said it will involve inviting companies and resellers to have their software usage surveyed by authorized representatives from the IPO to confirm if they are using licensed software or not. Organizations will be given 30 days to ensure that the software being utilized in their organization is legal.

”Those found to be compliant after the inspection will be given recognition by the IPOPHL, while those non-compliant shall be forwarded to the necessary software principals for further investigation and enforcement action if necessary,” Blancaflor pointed out.

“The importance of using licensed software and the dangers of utilizing illegal software will be highlighted in each visit. We believe it is important to highlight not just the advantages of utilizing legal software, but also the importance of protecting the intellectual property rights of its creators,” he further stated.

This campaign is fully supported by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the world’s foremost advocate for the software industry as it seeks to protect software companies from copyright infringement.

Speaking on behalf of BSA is Atty. Bienvenido Marquez, BSA Legal Counsel in the Philippines, said: “We are pleased that our government, through the IPOPHL, has come up with this initiative to raise awareness on the need for companies to use only licensed software.

“Establishments using illegal software put their businesses at risks as pirated software is prone to malware and other viruses. Worse, while these violators are unduly profiting from the intellectual property of the copyright owners,the Philippine economy suffers from revenue losses in the IT industry, not to mention the lower tax collections for the government and decreased job opportunities in thecountry,”said Marquez.

The PAPT is comprised of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Optical Media Board (OMB), and was formed toestablish 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 Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) joined the PAPT in 2011 to reinforce the campaign to protect intellectual property rights in the country.

The launch of the campaign was timed to coincide with the 7th anniversary of the founding of the PAPT in 2005.

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