Raid in a I-Café and How to Handle It

The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (IPR Law) will be twelve (12) years old this coming month of June but how many of us knows about this law and how can an i-café owner fully comply to its provisions. Maybe, we know more about the Optical Media Board (OMB) not because the agency is headed by a TV celebrity but more because of the sporadic raids they conduct on i-cafés purportedly for the purpose of implementing the IPR Law. In view of these, what can i-cafe owners do in case of anti-piracy raids in their establishments?

Firstly, i-café owners must use only genuine and legal software in their shops. This is not only for the purpose of complying with our existing laws but also for peace of mind in case of impending raids by any of the agencies implementing the IPR law. Using genuine and legal software not only not only gives an i-cafe owner sound sleeps, it also fends off all forms of harassment against the anti-piracy drive of the government. Remember that when the raiding teams check a place, they do not know which i-cafes are using pirated software. They do searches and seizures in all i-cafes in the area.

Secondly, if the raiding team comes (they call what they are doing as “inspection”), they should be ask to properly identify themselves. If their is any doubt on their identities, help from local police must be sought. The raiding team must also present documents showing the basis of the “inspection” that they are about to do. After these formalities, it is time for the cafe owner to show his proofs of compliance to the IPR and OMB Laws.

If and when disagreements arise as to which equipment can the raiding team seized as evidence of violating the anti-piracy laws, the Supreme Court A.M. No. 02-1-06-SC should apply. A copy of this circular must come handy in a café.

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