MANILA, Philippines - With software piracy in the country increasing to 70 percent—or seven in every 10 computer programs used— in 2011, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has launched another campaign that seeks to dissuade firms from using unlicensed software dubbed “Be Aware of Your Software: Maximize the Benefits, Minimize the Risks.”
IPOPHL launched the new campaign with the Business Software Alliance, which reported that from the constant 69 percent from 2008 to 2010, the Philippines’s software piracy rate rose to 70 percent in 2011.
The campaign seeks to raise awareness on the proper use of software and respect for copyright owners.
“As the lead agency responsible for the protection of intellectual-property rights in the country and as member of the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team [PAPT], the IPOPHL saw the need to come up with this initiative to educate businesses on the benefits to be derived from using licensed software and the risks from using pirated ones, which many of them do not yet seem to realize,” IPOPHL Director General Ricardo Blancaflor said.
IPOPHL, he added, will invite or visit companies and resellers to have their software usage surveyed to confirm if they are using licensed software or not.
”Those found to be compliant after the inspection will be given recognition by the IPOPHL, while those non-compliant shall be forwarded to the necessary software principals for further investigation and enforcement action if necessary,” Blancaflor said.
Organizations, he added, will be given 30 days to ensure that the software being utilized in their organization is legal.
“The importance of using licensed software and the dangers of utilizing illegal software will be highlighted in each visit. We believe it is important to highlight not just the advantages of utilizing legal software, but also the importance of protecting the intellectual property rights of its creators,” Blancaflor said.
Lawyer Bienvenido Marquez, BSA legal counsel in the Philippines, said the group is fully supportive of the campaign as it raises awareness on the need for companies to use only licensed software.
“Establishments using illegal software put their businesses at risks as pirated software is prone to malware and other viruses. Worse, while these violators are unduly profiting from the intellectual property of the copyright owners, the Philippine economy suffers from revenue losses in the IT industry, not to mention the lower tax collections for the government and decreased job opportunities in the country,” Marquez added.
The PAPT is made up of the National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police and Optical Media Board and was formed to establish an integrated and coordinated effort by the government to counteract negative effects of software piracy on the local IT industry and the economy.