PAPT: 4 Years of Software Anti-Piracy Initiative but No IPR Convictions

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The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), a state-led coalition to curb software piracy, composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), has been batting for the use of genuine licensed software for the past four years.While the PAPT has set enforcement standards for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Asia, the government has not convicted anyone for IPR infringement in the Philippines since 2006.“Unfortunately, the court is slow,” lamented Business Software Alliance (BSA) consultant for the Philippines Atty. Bien Marquez. Each case drags for an average of 6 to 8 years. In all, the Philippines only had 3 convictions for IPR violations before the team was established.Still, the Intellectual Property (IP) Coalition and the BSA, two organizations supporting the government’s cause of fighting software piracy, lauded the progress made by the three enforcement agencies.According to the 5th global software piracy study conducted by IDC and released in May 2009, the software piracy rate in the Philippines remained at 69% from 2007 to 2008. However, losses in the industry had increased from US$147 million in 2007 to US$202 million in 2008 as PC sales and usage in the country grew at a much higher rate.When the PAPT was launched in 2005, the PC software piracy rate in the Philippines was at 71%.Already, the PAPT has conducted 129 raids against businesses belonging to different sectors across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao suspected of using pirated and unlicensed software. They seized computers loaded with unlicensed and pirated software, as well as pirated installers with a total estimated value of almost P315 million.Aside from the raids, the PAPT, through the OMB, has also conducted routine unannounced visits on more than 80 businesses nationwide to check if they were using pirated and unlicensed software in their business operations. Among the areas that were visited by the OMB were the key business districts in Metro Manila, North and Central Luzon, South Luzon, and Cebu.The PAPT has also sent out letters to businesses nationwide reminding them to check their use of software. Sending out letter advisories is part of the PAPT’s awareness campaign against the use of unlicensed software.The PAPT encourages companies to self-regulate and protect their businesses against the detrimental effects of using pirated software.It marked the first time in the enforcement of anti-piracy laws in the Asia Pacific region that three different government agencies came together in a unified stance against software piracy. Software piracy is a crime punishable with up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to one million pesos under the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293). The creation of the PAPT gave the law more teeth in going after Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Code violators.“The last four years has witnessed an all-out war declared by the PAPT against businesses using pirated and unlicensed software. …