Boosting The Fight Against Piracy

The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), the task force in charge of curbing piracy in the country, celebrated its sixth (6th) anniversary recently with the addition of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) as its newest member. Established in 2005 with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as its original members, the formation of the PAPT was designed to consolidate and better coordinate the efforts of the government’s various enforcement agencies to bring down the rate of piracy in the country, particularly software piracy.

With the addition of the IPOPHL, the PAPT is set to become an even stronger task force in curbing software piracy in the Philippines. The IPOPHL is the government office created under Republic Act No. 8293 (The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines) to promote respect for intellectual property rights in the country. The agency is now building its own enforcement capabilities to be able to more effectively carry out its mandate and it is seen that its joining PAPT will be a big boost to fighting software piracy. The reinforced PAPT is set to undertake continuous anti-piracy crackdown campaign in key areas of the country.

In its six years of existence, the PAPT has undertaken intellectual property enforcement actions in various business centers resulting in the seizures of hundreds of million pesos worth of computer hardware. These actions have heightened awareness among the business community of the risks and consequences of engaging in software piracy – such as disruption in the raided companies’ business operations, damage to their corporate reputation and risk of up to nine (9) years of imprisonment and a fine of up to one million five hundred thousand (PhP1,500,000.00) pesos under RA 8293.

As an industry that makes intensive use of software, i-cafés are usual targets of PAPT campaigns. Some stakeholders in the business are known to favor violating the intellectual property rights of software developers. While there are options available to legalize their use of pirated software like the Microsoft I-Café Program that offers operating system and productivity software at affordable prices, many still prefer to play hide-and-seek with the authorities. With the above-described development intended at boosting the fight against software piracy, I believe it would serve well for those still using pirated software to consider buying licensed ones soon.

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