Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team Launched To Combat Software Piracy
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The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board and the Philippine National Police (PNP), together with the Intellectual Property Coalition, have banded together to launch the “Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team,” a campaign that aims to curb software piracy in the Philippines. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is supporting the campaign.
The five organizations signed a memorandum of understanding that spelled out the objectives and action plans of the campaign.
The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team started with a 30-day countdown that began on August 16 and will end on September 15. It will be followed by a crackdown phase in which a series of raids against software copyright violators will be conducted nationwide. Companies are expected to correct license misuse before the crackdown begins.
A recent study conducted by the IDC for BSA placed the Philippines’ software piracy rate at 71% with losses amounting to P3.7 billion in 2004. Software piracy exists in many forms including corporate end-user piracy, hard disk loading, retail CD-ROM piracy and Internet piracy. The most noticeable among these is the sale of counterfeit CD-ROMs in retail outlets. However, software piracy has remained rampant amongst corporate end-users - this occurs when businesses utilize more copies of software than it has licenses for.
Individuals who wish to report software piracy cases may get in touch with the BSA through its anti-piracy hotlines at 819-5897 for Metro Manila residents and the toll-free 1-800-1-888-8787 for those residing outside Metro Manila. BSA gives a reward of up to P1 million for reports on companies using unlicensed software.
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Microsoft offers lower cost versions of Windows XP in 5 countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. These versiosn sell for approximately $30.00. In the Philippines buying a full version of XP from a distributor is approximately $400-$500.00 (this is over double what the same license costs in the states)
The only reason that Microsoft reduced their pricing in these countries is because they lost market share to government initiatives promoting open source software.
the figures from IDC are wrong and completely misreported. Few businesses here, including IT businesses can afford to purchase this software at US rates or higher. It doesn't even make economic sense since these products are priced based on foriegn economies. Enforcing these rules will not help drive software sales, it will simply stifle the already troubled IT sector further.
Instead of appluading the Philippine government for these actions we should be asking who's side they are on. No one stands to gain from these actions except for the BSA member companies (none of which are Filipino) and local distributors for these software products. The IT sector involved in creating software both for the local econonmy and abroad will be hit hard. And this is where the real growth is and focus should be.
Microsoft has demonstrated that the only places where they have lowered their prices have been in areas where the Government has actively stood against them. This is what has to be done here. The BSA should not be supported until the members of this association are able to offer prices that are affordable for the local economy.
For many organizations the only reasonable affordable alternative is to go open source. Which means that the resellers will still not make money from this, the BSA will not meet their objectives, and worst of all the member ogranizations of the BSA will continue to ignore the Philippines while they provide price breaks to all of their neighbors whose Governments stood up to the them.
Getting high-visibility, press-releasable, idiot-proof donations from Micro$oft, absolutely. Local politicians can understand that.