Anti software piracy drive nets P4.3M in May

By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – At least P4.3 million worth of  illegal software, movies, games, and music were confiscated by elements from the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in several raids conducted this month.

The raids were conducted in Isetann-Recto, Times Plaza Mall, the University Mall in Manila, Market! Market! Mall in Taguig City, and Shoppesville Plus in Greenhills. Sidewalk vendors selling pirated software were also targeted by the raiding team.

Apart from raiding shops that sell pirated material in CD or DVD forms, the anti-piracy team also went for IT retail shops that were installing software onto hard disk drives.

At least two shops were discovered to have this illegal service to customers, Premium Logic Computers in SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, and Danamic & Static Computer Parts and Supply in Metropoint Shopping Mall in Pasay.

At least P223,600 worth of unlicensed Microsoft software were inspected by the anti-piracy raiding team in these two shops.

The raids also came during the celebration of the World Intellectual Property Day last April 26. The Philippines is one of the signatories of several treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). These include The Berne Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty, and WIPO Copyright Treaty.

OMB Chair Ronnie Ricketts said the raids were aimed at discouraging vendors of pirated software as well as to encourage more people to be vigilant against piracy, which has negative effects to the economy.

Software piracy alone is worth P9.7 billion in the Philippines as of 2009.

The Philippines remains in the Watch List of latest Special 301 the United States Trade Representative (USTR). This status puts to question the Philippines' ability to prevent any type of copyright and patent infringement. The Special 301 is used by the United States government as basis when trading in other countries.

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