Central Visayas has nearly 700 software piracy violations

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Thursday, May 31, 2012


CEBU CITY -- Following its North Luzon anti-piracy campaign, the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) led by the Optical Media Board (OMB) turned its eye on Central Visayas and found nearly 700 software license violations in several establishments.

In separate raids conducted in Negros Oriental and Bohol, OMB visited and found the copyright infringements in schools, hospitals, banks, financial organizations and internet cafes, with over 50 percent of these violations occurring in the i-cafes.

Such infringements involved not just the establishments’ failure to present licenses for their software but even cases of mis-licensing and under-licensing, which are also technically considered as software piracy.

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OMB Executive Director Cyrus Valenzuela expressed his dismay at the big number of violations found despite the warning ads placed in regional newspapers and warning letters sent in advance of the Central Visayas sweep.

“It seems that many companies still do not realize that using unlicensed software in their operations is a serious crime. Or, even if they do, they think they can get away with it indefinitely. Now they have to face and suffer the consequences of their crimes,” Valenzuela said.

“The PAPT has been considerate toward several establishments that have not shown licenses for the software they are using, allowing them 30 days after the visit to comply with licensing requirements. But if they have not taken corrective measures after the 30 days, then formal charges will be filed against them and if found guilty, under the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act 8293) and the Optical Media Act (RA 9239), they can be subject to up to nine years of imprisonment, including a fine of up to P1.5 million,” the OMB official warned.

According to the 2011 Global Software Piracy Study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world, the software piracy in the country went up a notch, from 69 percent in 2010, to 70 percent; which means seven out of 10 programs users install in their computers were unlicensed. The commercial value for this violation was US$338 million (or approximately P14.6 billion).

The PAPT, comprising of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Optical Media Board (OMB), was formed in 2005 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.

In 2011, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) joined the PAPT in reinforcing 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. (PR)

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