Computer school raided over alleged pirated software

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2011 02:52 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2011 07:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the National Bureau of Investigation-Intellectual Property Rights Division (NBI-IPRD) conducted a raid at the AMA Computer College, Inc. along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) on Tuesday.

Autodesk Systems, Inc. and Adobe Systems, Inc., through Federis and Associates Law Offices, alleged that the school uses pirated software in its computer laboratories, prompting authorities to conduct a raid.

Autodesk is the owner of AutoCAD software while Adobe is the owner of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe CS2, Adobe Premier CS2, Adobe ReaderX, Adobe Premier Pro 2.0 and Macromedia Dreamweaver.

The school will face charges of violating copyright infringment laws under the Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code.

Authorities confiscated around 30 computers.

The school’s administration, meanwhile, denied that it is using unauthorized software.

In a press statement, the school said it has “always been compliant with all the IP laws relating to computer software licenses.”

According to Atty. Angel Enrico Mira, corporate secretary of the AMA Education System, the raid was conducted in a “Gestapo-like manner”, adding that “students were threatened, reason why we were forced to suspend classes.”

“Issues on the alleged ‘unauthorized software’ are without basis considering that these are software that can be downloaded through the internet by any student using the internet laboratory, operating similar to any internet café,” the statement said.

The school also accused representatives of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) of coercion.

“Instead of listening to our reasons, the BSA representatives, Attys. Ponce and Poblador, were coercing the company to purchase additional licenses from them amounting to around P100 million. These representatives, in the presence of NBI agents, also declared that our company has to pay NBI agents 20% of whatever settlement we can arrive at. Said acts are tantamount to illegal marketing,” it said. -- Report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News