To further its efforts in combating software piracy in the country, the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) composed of the the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the PNP, and the Optical Media Board (OMB), will be inspecting local retailers and businesses across cities in southern Luzon this May.
The PAPT will be visiting both retailers and businesses in Laguna, Batangas and Cavite to make sure all the software they are both selling and using is licensed. Retailers will be asked to show proof that their software is legitimate.
The random, unscheduled inspection of businesses seeks to stamp out the sale of illegal software in the region. PAPT has broadened the coverage and has increasedthe frequency of its inspections. In addition, the PAPT has also doubled the number of other enforcement activities to further ensure that organizations in the country are only using genuine software in their PCs.
“At PAPT, we are committed to address the sale of counterfeit and pirated software in the country. We have been implementing strong initiatives to address this issue,” said OMB Chairman Ronnie Ricketts. “Beyond inspections, we include in our efforts campaigns to educate and inform the public on the associated risks of using illegal software. For one, the purchase and use of illegal software, without them knowing, could be funding other illegal activities,” he added.
Just this April, the United States removed the Philippines from the US Trade Representative Special 301 Watchlist for the first time in 20 years. This report provides a list of US trading partners the country deems as inadequate in the protection of IPRs.
Software piracy is a violation of the copyright provisions of the IP code of the Philippines (RA 8293) and Optical Media Act (RA 9239). Infringers could face up to nine years of imprisonment and or a fine of up to PHP1.5 million.