Govt, private companies losing P14.6B to software piracy
Seven in 10 computers in the Philippines contain pirated software – that’s 70 percent based on the 2011 study of Business Software Alliance (BSA), reflecting revenue losses of P14.6 billion a year by government and private companies.
"All of us are affected by this problem," said Atty. Allan Gepty, deputy director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
On Aug. 16, IPO Philippines launched an information campaign to address the high percentage of software piracy in the country.
"It is not enough that we run after the violators of intellectual property rights (IPR). The most important is to educate people," Gepty said.
“We would like to create an atmosphere that would be beneficial to the Filipino minds that their rights will be protected," IPOPHL director general Ricardo Blancaflor said.
Blancaflor was recently hailed as the most influential person in Asia's IP industry. Last year, the government seized over $8.5 billion of counterfeit goods, through the help of IPOPHL.
The information drive “Be Aware of Your Software: Maximize the Benefits, Minimize the Risks” aims to inform the public of the perks and perils of using pirated software.
One of the culprits for malware and other viruses on the computer is pirated software, Gepty said.
IPOPHL and BSA intends to continue surveying and checking companies, retailers and government organization to see if they are complying with legal software usage.
Organizations caught using unlicensed software are given 30 days to switch to and ensure that it will be using legal copies of the software from then on.
Those that don’t comply will be recommended by IPOPHL representatives for further sanction by enforcement agencies – Optical Media Board (OMB), Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
These agencies are part of the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT).
Compared to our neighboring countries, the Philippines fares well in terms of intellectual property protection, Blancaflor noted.
“The Philippines is seen as the country champion for enforcement… Because we also deal with enforcement agencies,” Blancaflor said.
In terms of patent protection, the Philippines last year ranked third in Asia and Oceania.
In this year’s intellectual property rights index, the country ranked 73rd among 130 countries surveyed the world over. In Asia and Oceania, the Philippines ranked 11th out of 19 countries.
IPOPHL, however, is limited to inspection and survey when it comes to intellectual property rights.
“Ironic… At present, we do not have enforcement powers… we still need the enforcement agencies to file the case,” Gepty said.
This is why IPOPHL is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 301 or the Copyright Bill, which empowers IPOPHL to inspect and survey private companies and government agencies on IP Code compliance.
For now, IPOPHL can inspect or survey companies only if they consent to be placed under such procedure.
Because the exorbitant cost of genuine programs drives many users to install pirated software into their computers, Gepty said companies like Microsoft and Auto CAD have started offering varied price structures for different consumers.
This is to encourage users to buy only legal copies of the software they need, he added. — VS, GMA News