Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team Cites Progress in 2 Years
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Manila, Philippines - The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), a government-led initiative composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), cited significant progress in its battle against software piracy as it marked the second anniversary of its formation.
It was in August 2005 that the three enforcement agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding that became the embodiment of the Philippine government’s efforts to eliminate software piracy and promote faster growth of the country’s information technology (IT) industry.
“The creation of the PAPT was a big step forward as it enabled the three major enforcement agencies in the Philippines to forge closer cooperation and coordination among themselves in enforcing the IP law against businesses that deal with unlicensed software, whether as a seller or an end-user,” said Edu Manzano, chairman of the Optical Media Board and spokesperson of the PAPT.
The launch of the PAPT in 2005 was marked by a 30-day reprieve prior to the start of the intensive enforcement campaign. This was to give companies time to check their software licenses and allow them to correct any violation of the IP laws.
This “countdown-before-the-crackdown” phase created quite a stir and impelled many companies to check on their software management, procurement procedures and usage. After the reprieve expired, the PAPT lost no time in conducting a series of 12 raids till the end of the year, resulting in more than P12 million worth of computers and software seized.
In 2006, the campaign continued with the number of raids increasing to 22 and the value of confiscated goods rising to more than P55 million. From January to August 2007 alone, the PAPT has already undertaken 26 raids. This brought the total number of raids conducted in the last two years to 60 and the value of hardware and software seized to more than P135 million.
Companies that were raided included construction and engineering firms, call centers, design studios, a drug testing center, internet cafes and computer stores among others. The PAPT raids were conducted, not only in Metro Manila, but in other areas around the country including Angeles and San Fernando in Pampanga; Balanga in Bataan; Olongapo in Zambales; Lucena in Quezon; Cebu and Mandaue in Cebu province and Tacloban City in Leyte.
In August 2006, in celebration of the Team’s first anniversary, PAPT launched its own PAPT website, www.papt.org.ph
, which made information on the Team and its activities readily accessible to the general public. The website also contains important information such as resources on the IP Code of the Philippines and Optical Media Act. Software piracy is a violation of the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of the Philippines and is punishable by up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to 1.5 million pesos.
As part of PAPT’s educational campaign, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division (AFCCD), the PAPT’s PNP arm, has been sending out letters to business establishments in Cebu City, Davao City and Metro Manila that have been reported to the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) website for alleged use of unlicensed software.
The letters had also advised businesses to conduct necessary system checks in order to determine the legitimacy of their software licenses. Advisory letters have also been sent to several mall-owners encouraging them to police their establishments from tenants that sell pirated products.
PAPT has made available the free service of the PAPT Technical Inspection Panel (P-TIP) in assisting companies in determining the legitimacy of their software programs. Composed of the members of the CIDG-AFCCD, the P-TIP has been trained by the Business Software Alliance to conduct software systems checks.