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Philippines Officials tackle software piracy

According to the International Property Code of the Philippines, software piracy is a violation and may incur up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to 1.5 million pesos (US $35,000). In order to curb this violation, officials from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD) recently carried out raids on four businesses in different parts of the Philippines that were selling computers loaded with unlicensed software.

The raided stores, namely: Compex Sucat Inc., Brochiere Computers, Pantertech and Save on Surplus (SOS), were allegedly offering add-ons in the form of free business software in order to encourage customers to buy more computers. Unbeknown to these customers was the fact that the ‘free software’ installed on the purchased computers, was actually unlicensed and therefore pirated. During the raids, the sales persons could only observe whilst NBI officials in the different stores inspected the computers. The officials confiscated 29 computers loaded with pirated software and 15 pirated software installers amounting to 650,000 pesos (US $15,000) with the aim of using these items as evidence against the perpetrators.

In spite of the action by the different businesses of employing the use of pirated software because of its seemingly uncomplicated accessibility, this still does not yield positive results. This is because they may think that they are swindling the customer out of more money, but the truth of the matter is that their involvement in the practice of software piracy would only lead to them losing their businesses. It is the aim of the NBI to ensure the complete eradication of software piracy as they work in partnership with the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police as the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT).