Anti-piracy team uncovers software under-licensing in North Luzon

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The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), led by the Optical Media Board (OMB), recently launched a more intensified campaign against software piracy this year in the provinces of Pampanga and Zambales. The OMB team inspected various businesses, banks, schools and other manufacturing, service and commercial establishments, including those located in economic zones in the two provinces after a 30-day countdown of announcements in local newspapers. OMB Executive Director Cyrus Valenzuela said that many companies in the area were also using software in environments where the software license did not extend usage to. For example, a number of schools have been caught using software for the business side of their operations, although the software were intended for educational purposes only. The companies that were suspected of being under-licensed or not adhering with the terms and conditions of their licensing agreement were asked to submit documents to the OMB to prove that they were compliant. Valenzuela warned the companies to take the necessary corrective measures so that they need not worry when they are subjected to further inspections in the future. Software piracy is a violation of Republic Act 9239 or the Optical Media Act and is a crime punishable by up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to P1.5 million under Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. ?The software piracy rate has stagnated at 69 percent over the past few years, whilst the value of pirated software has gradually increased to a high of $278 million in 2010. Imagine if the piracy rate were lower, how many more jobs would have been generated and how much more taxes would the government have enjoyed as a result of legitimate sales generated by the software industry,? Valenzuela said. The PAPT will continue to inspect Northern Luzon further in the coming days, after which it will go south to visit key cities in Central Visayas to go after businesses that may also be under-licensed or not complying with their software licensing agreements. The PAPT was formed in 2005 in order 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. The original members of the PAPT include the National Bureau Investigation, Philippine National Police and Optical Media Board. In September 2011, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) joined the PAPT to reinforce the campaign to protect intellectual property rights in the country. ]]>

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