OMB Scores Against Software Pirates

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga — The Optical Media Board (OMB) resumed its Northern Luzon anti-software piracy campaign, confiscating more than 100 pirated software installers allegedly used by computer retail stores in Pampanga.

Last month, the board started its Northern Luzon sweep by inspecting businesses operating in Pampanga and Zambales and found numerous cases of under-licensing among various banks, schools and other commercial establishments.

“In revisiting Pampanga, the team this time targeted the computer stores found in malls and came up with violators of another form of software piracy among computer retail stores – installation of pirated software in the PCs they were selling,” OMB said in a statement.

OMB said the stalls were in malls in San Fernando City, Clark and Angeles City.

It added that several laptop were also found installed with probable unlicensed software.

“While our inspections have not yet resulted in our filing charges against erring companies pending results of further investigations, we believe we have gotten across our message to businesses that software piracy consists not only of using unlicensed software or under-licensing on the part of companies but installing pirated software in the PCs they sell on the part of computer shops,” said Cyrus Valenzuela, OMB executive director.

“We hope these companies have learned their lessons and will not be resorting to such criminal acts from here on in, for we will be visiting and re-visiting them time and again. And if we catch them red-handed the next time, they will have to face the consequences as provided for by law,” Valenzuela said.

He stressed that software piracy is a violation of the Copyright Provisions of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293) and the Optical Media Act (RA 9239).

“Offenders will be subject to criminal sanctions of up to nine years of imprisonment and a fine of up to P1.5 million,” he said.

Valenzuela said the use of pirated software “does not only pose risks to businesses in terms of viruses and malware that may destroy any data vital to their business operation. It also harms the Philippine economy in terms of revenue losses for the industry, lower tax collections for the government and reduced job opportunities for our fellow Filipinos.”

According to the 2010 Global Software Piracy Study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world, software piracy rate of the Philippines has remained at 69 percent for four consecutive years now, which amounted to $278 million losses in 2010.

The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) was formed in 2005 with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the OMB 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 September 2011, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines joined the PAPT to reinforce the campaign to protect intellectual property rights in the country.