Diverting from its usual raids in known piracy dens such as Quiapo, the government recently swooped down on SM Megamall in Ortigas Center in Pasig City to put a clamp on software pirates in the said establishment.
The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), led by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), conducted an inspection sweep of computer stores at the upscale mall and apprehended technicians of two well-known shops at the Cyberzone section for alleged hard-disk loading.
Charged for hard-disk loading, a form of software piracy which involves uploading illegal copies of software into hard disks to make their computers more attractive to buyers, were technicians Reynaldo Mapili of PC Live and Ronald Fajardo of Premium Logic.
Seized from both stores were a Lenovo laptop, a desktop, and three hard drives. These were found to contain unauthorized copies of Microsoft programs such as Windows 7 and Office.
“It is important for retailers to understand that software piracy poses great threats to both their customers and their own businesses as well,” Rommel Vallejo, chief of the Intellectual Property Rights division of NBI, said in a statement.
Vallejo pointed out that “loading unauthorized copies of software programs in computers that are being sold exposes the customers of these stores to virus and malware attacks that can hamper their productivity and affect their security. It also leaves their own stores’ operations vulnerable to raids by the PAPT.”
“Let these two cases serve as a warning to all other computer stores and their technicians in the country to desist from any further hard-disk loading, or else suffer the same serious consequences to their businesses and practically ruin the careers and futures of their erring technicians,” Vallejo stated.
Vallejo said software piracy is a violation of Republic Act 9239 or the Optical Media Act and is a crime punishable by up to nine years imprisonment and a fine of up to P1.5 million under Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
Aside from the NBI, the PAPT is composed of the Philippine National Police, the Optical Media Board and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
It was organized by the government in 2005 to intensify the fight against software piracy. The country’s piracy rate in 2011 stood at 71 percent.
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