With rise of ‘ghost piracy’ in SE Asia, BSA opens hotline for software license compliance

Software maker group BSA announced on Thursday, July 14, the launch of helplines across Southeast Asia to help businesses in the engineering, infrastructure, and construction industries cope with challenges related to software copyright compliance. 

Optical Media Board executive director Christine Marie L. Suntay

BSA’s decision to launch the hotlines follows reports about “ghost piracy”, in which authorities report that design professionals working from home are illegally accessing illegal software at their offices while working remotely on engineering, construction, and animation design projects.

The BSA helplines are being launched in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. In the Philippines, professionals working in the design industries are encouraged to dial +63 966.8248162 to learn more about processes their firms can undertake to improve software license compliance. 

BSA executives said that there is a special concern when design firms working on engineering and construction projects for national infrastructure use illegal software for designs. 

“The primary reason we launched the helpline is because genuine, licensed software is the first line of defense in cyber security,” said BSA senior director Tarun Sawney.

“BSA wants to help as many organizations as possible recognize the benefits of using licensed software. Unlicensed software is not safe.  And particularly when professionals are designing public infrastructure, there is no excuse for carelessness in what kind of software is used.  As a matter of public and national safety, only licensed, safe, secure software should be employed in construction and engineering design projects.” 

In Thailand, for example, the Economic and Cyber Crime police officers reported raiding an animation studio in Bangkok that was creating entertainment content for a global streaming platform. While officers executed a search warrant for violation of software copyright law, they witnessed workers at home remotely utilizing computers in the office to complete design work.

The company had 20 computers in the office, 15 of which contained unlicensed Autodesk Maya programs, being used for movie and animation special effects. Total value of the unlicensed software was nearly $200,000.

“The construction and engineering industries are at risk of cyber threat – and must take action to protect their businesses by using only licensed, genuine design software,” said Christine Marie L. Suntay, executive director of the Optical Media Board.

“The structures they build for the Philippines are used by all of us.  We cannot risk the integrity of our structures – and so leaders in the construction industry have a responsibility to ensure that not only are they using licensed design software, but that all their suppliers and vendors are also using genuine design software.”

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