Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team steps up drive against software pirates during IPR Month
Thursday, October 25, 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), has stepped up its software piracy enforcement and educational campaigns in conjunction with the celebration of October as IPR month.
Since the start of October, the PAPT has already conducted 13 raids against business establishments that use or sell pirated business software, resulting in the confiscation of more than P39 million worth of computers, software and CD burners.
First, operatives of the NBI’s Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD) raided offices of the Filipinas Multi-Line Corporation for software piracy along with its three subsidiaries Multi-Line Building Systems, Inc., Multi-Line Design Systems, Inc., and Multi-Line Structures Corp. in Quezon City. The raids resulted to the seizure of 40 computers loaded with unlicensed Autodesk and Microsoft software, valued at almost P4 million.
A few days later, the NBI-IPRD agents simultaneously raided offices of China Geo Engineering Corporation in Parañaque City and San Jose, Nueva Ecija. About P7 million worth of computers, software and installer CDs were seized during the said raids. Agents of the NBI National Capital Region (NCR) also raided CIID International, Inc. with office in Bervedere Bldg., San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. During the raid, the NBI confiscated pirated versions of Autocad software valued at P5 million pesos.
Further to this, a team from the OMB, by virtue of the Optical Media Act, raided 80 establishments during separate raids in Ayala Center, Ayala MRT Station, and Park Square in Makati City, University Mall in Taft Ave., University Belt in Morayta and CM Recto in Manila, Shoppesville in Greenhills and Gilmore St. in Quezon City for the sale and distribution of pirated copies of business software. The raid resulted in the seizure of more than P23 million pesos worth of pirated copies of software and equipment.
“Software piracy is a serious crime. We would like to warn businesses about the adverse consequences of getting involved in this unlawful act. Should we secure sufficient amount of evidence that you are involved in software piracy, the PAPT will not hesitate to carry out the rule of law and swoop down on your premises,” said OMB Chairman Edu Manzano, spokesperson of the PAPT.
“If you are the boss and you tolerate such a crime in the way you operate your business, you are also personally liable for the infringement. You can be arrested during a software piracy raid, and if found guilty, you may face a hefty fine and possible imprisonment,” Manzano added.
Contributing to the PAPT’s activities this month, the PNP-CIDG’s Anti Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division (AFCCD) sent out letters to business establishments in Metro Manila that were reported to the PAPT website. The letters, signed by CIDG Director Edgardo Doromal, advised the companies to self-regulate and conduct internal checks to determine the legitimacy of their software.
As part of its educational campaign, the PAPT has also started sending out letters to companies informing them of the legal implications of violating the IP Code of the Philippines. The letter was signed by Atty. Elfren Meneses, head of the NBI-IPR Division, Atty. Rosendo Meneses, Executive Director of the OMB and Police Director Edgardo Doromal, head of PNP-CIDG.
With the support of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Intellectual Property (IP) Coalition, the PAPT was organized two years ago to address the alarming problem of software piracy in the Philippines.
Software piracy is a violation of the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of the Philippines. This is punishable by up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to P1.5 million.
For more information on the recent enforcement activities of the PAPT, you may visit the PAPT website, www.papt.org.ph.