NBI swoops down on mall shops selling PCs with pirated software

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Among the establishments where the contaminated PCs were found were Compex Alabang and PC Gadget & Mobile Hub both located at the Festival Supermarket in Alabang, Muntinlupa City and Silicon Valley at the SM Southmall found in Las Pi?as City. The NBI operatives confiscated two Acer Aspire units, two Lenovo laptops and a desktop, a Samsung laptop and an HP Pavilion, which were all loaded with unauthorized copies of software allegedly installed by the stores? technicians. ?Consumers need to know that buying the products of well-known PC manufacturers does not guarantee that their products are free of pirated software, which expose them to malware and virus attacks that may compromise their privacy and security and bring to ruin their entire business operation,? said Dante Jacinto, chief of Intellectual Property Rights Division of the NBI. ?This is why they should make sure that their IT devices, such as computers are loaded only with legal software.? Hard-disk loading is a form of software piracy where resellers of computer hardware load unauthorized copies of software onto the machines they sell. In a recent study conducted by Microsoft in Southeast Asia, it was found out that well-known PC brands such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung have been loaded with pirated copies of software, such as Windows, and are embedded with malware. It is believed that neither the counterfeit images nor the malware originated from ? or were installed by ? the individual PC manufacturers. Instead, the computers were likely shipped with non-Windows operating systems, which were later replaced by individuals in the downstream supply chain or retail channel who deal in the illegal duplication and distribution of pirated software. The NBI official pointed out that the three technicians who were caught and the store owners of the said establishments face criminal charges in violation of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines and the Optical Media Act. Under these laws, software piracy is a crime punishable by up to nine years of imprisonment and a fine of up to P1.5 million. Meanwhile, the PAPT will continue its enforcement campaigns against software piracy in South Metro and nearby provinces. The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) will be visiting establishments suspected of using and selling counterfeit software in the said areas. This is in light of the amendments under the IP Code of the Philippines that recently came in effect, which grants enforcement powers to the IPOPHL. According to the IPOPHL, one of the amendments to the IP code grants visitorial powers to IPOPHL and allows it to undertake enforcement functions with the support of concerned agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), NBI, Bureau of Customs (BOC), Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Local Government Units (LGUs), with corresponding complaints from the IP right owners. ?This development strengthens the protection of intellectual property in the country,? said IPOPHL director-general Ricardo Blancaflor of the IPOPHL. ?With this, we will be able to personally check on potential IP violators in channels and businesses, such as software infringers, and subject them to appropriate actions.? The NBI and the IPOPHL are members of the PAPT together with the OMB and PNP. The team 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. ]]>

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