Six businesses in Southen Manila were recently raided for alleged use of unlicensed software, according to the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT).
The two-pronged raid divided agents from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), Optical Media Board (OMB) and Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (PNP) to inspect the businesses located in Laguna and Cavite.
Upon inspection of each office’s complete software inventory, all with the help of their respective IT point persons, PAPT discovered that only a Binan-based semi-conductor manufacturing corporation was able to prove their use of legitimate software in business operations.
Three industrial manufacturing companies are included in the operation and were unable to show complete and valid proof of their software licenses. However, it was a products manufacturer in Cavite and a real estate company in Laguna that raised red flags for not allowing PAPT to enter their offices for the inspection.
Companies that use unlicensed software in business operations violate the copyright provisions of the IP code of the Philippines (RA 8293) and Optical Media Act (RA 9239). Entities found guilty of software piracy can face up to nine years of imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to 1.5 million pesos.
“Companies need to understand that using unlicensed software puts their entire business at risk. Pirated software exposes their computers and employees to numerous cybercrimes and security risks that could gravely cripple their operations. While it may initially seem cheaper, the use of pirated software can lead to serious damages that companies eventually need to deal with and spend more money and time for, making it a very poor investment in the long run,” said IPOPHL Deputy Director General Allan Gepty.
“If you aggregate the use of pirated software by small and medium business, it could add up to big losses for the economy in terms of investments, particularly since it will affect our rating within the global community. We had just been taken off the global piracy watch list and our crackdowns are intended to ensure that the Philippines remains out of that watch list every year,” explained Optical Media Board Executive Director Cyrus Valenzuela during the raids.
The PAPT, formed in 2005, is a joint effort from agents of the National Bureau of Investigation, OMB, Philippine National Police and the IPOPHL, which joined the group in 2011. Its goal is to execute integrated and coordinated endeavors by the government to counteract the negative effects of software piracy on the local IT industry and the economy.