700 software piracy violations netted in Central Visayas

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In separate raids conducted in Negros Oriental and Bohol, the PAPT, led by the Optical Media Board (OMB), visited and found the copyright infringements in schools, hospitals, banks, financial organizations and Internet cafes, with over 50 percent of the violations occurring in Internet 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. 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 towards 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 (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,? the OMB official warned. According to the 2011 Global Software Piracy Study conducted by the IDC for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), software piracy in the country went up a notch, from 69 percent in 2010, to 70 percent; which means 7 out of 10 programs users install in their computers were unlicensed. The commercial value for this violation was $338 million or approximately P14.6 billion. The PAPT, comprising of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the 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. ]]>

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