700 software piracy violations noted in Central Visayas
Anti-piracy operatives discovered at least 700 software piracy violations by several establishments in Central Visayas, following their campaign in the region.
The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) led by the Optical Media Board (OMB) discovered the violations in raids on Negros Oriental and Bohol provinces.
"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," the PAPT said.
It added such infringements involved not only the establishments’ failure to present licenses for their software but even cases of "mislicensing" and "under-licensing."
Such practices are technically considered software piracy, it stressed.
OMB Executive Director lawyer Cyrus Valenzuela voiced dismay over the big number of violations despite 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.
Valenzuela added the PAPT had been considerate towards several establishments that have not shown licenses for the software they are using.
Such establishments were given a 30-day grace period after the visit to comply with licensing requirements.
"(I)f 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 (RA 8293) and the Optical Media Act (RA 9239), they can be subject to up to 9 years of imprisonment, including a fine of up to P1.5 million,” he said.
Uptick in piracy in 2011
Data from the 2011 Global Software Piracy Study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) for the Business Software Alliance (BSA) showed software piracy in the country went up a notch, from 69 percent in 2010, to 70 percent.
The figures indicated seven out of 10 programs users install in their computers were unlicensed. Such violations cost about $338 million (P14.6 billion).
PAPT includes the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Optical Media Board (OMB).
It was formed in 2005 to establish a 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. — TJD, GMA News