Antipiracy group intensifies drive vs unlicensed software

THE Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) continues to track down more companies using unlicensed computer software in their operations.

Agents of the Intellectual Property Office and the National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said a lot of companies still do not use licensed software in their business premises.

The series of inspections recently conducted jointly by the two agencies showed that many businesses are still not able to provide any proof that the software used in their operations are legitimate.

“We highly encourage companies to use licensed software. As the Philippines is turning into an international hub of information-technology services, it is important that companies increase the level of compliance, and respect for intellectual property rights,” IPOPHL Deputy Director General Allan Gepty said.

Companies violating the provisions of the Intellectual Property Code, or Republic Act (RA) 8293, and the Optical Media Act, or RA 9239, run the risk of business closure, revocation of travel visas and other criminal charges. Those found guilty of software piracy can face up to nine years of imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to P1.5 million.

Computer experts from the PAPT advised that the use of unlicensed software puts any business at risk. In today’s Internet-based and cloud-enabled economy, illegal software exposes the company to cybercrime and security issues that could lead to millions of pesos in losses and more millions for technical help to recover from a major breach.

In addition, lack of technical support is a typical problem associated with unlicensed software. If the software crashes or becomes problematic, an unlicensed user may not be able to contact the software’s help desk for assistance.

Cybersecurity is also an issue. Some unlicensed software cracks may carry trojans or malware, making systems vulnerable to cybercrime. Illegal software also do not receive updates, which are important, especially for operating systems, for continuous protection from viruses, malware, and the like.