Monitoring More Effective Than Enforcement in Fight against Software Piracy, Says Report

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Byline: melvin g. calimag

Unlike in video and music industries where enforcement of intellectual property (IP) laws has a great effect on lowering down the piracy rate, the countrys software industry needs more of increased monitoring and education campaigns rather than police raids to combat piracy.

This was the conclusion reached by a recent report conducted by the IP Coalition, an alliance of different IP groups in the Philippines. The study, titled "The IP Coalition Report 1: Copyright in the Philippines 2004," is the first in a series of reports that the coalition will be drafting and which will be turned over to the government to serve as a guide in fighting the emerging problem on piracy.

The report, financed through a fund granted by Microsoft Philippines, was written by Dr. Ramon Clarete of the Economics Foundation of the University of the Philippines.

Deputy Executive Secretary Waldo Flores and newly installed IP Office chief Adrian Cristobal Jr. received the copy of the report in behalf of the government from IP Coalition chair John Lesaca during the turnover rites held recently at the Peninsula Manila in Makati City.

The report indicated strong relationship between the level of piracy and new investments in software development in the Philippines. "In short, as the (piracy) rate in the country declines, the level of new investments in the software sector rises, and vice versa," said Atty. Teodoro Kalaw IV, IP Coalition Secretary-General.

In terms of enforcement actions, Kalaw said there is an "observable" connection between the number of monitored firms for IPR violations and the software piracy rate. "In effect, as the number of firms monitored increases, the software piracy rate appears to decline."

Monitoring refers to activities ranging from software license audit to education campaigns for the proper use of software license, Kalaw said.

But what is "surprising" in the study, according to him, is that "unlike an increase in monitoring, there appears no discernable relationship between apprehension activities such as search warrant enforcement actions and the piracy rate. …