3 computer retailers nabbed for software piracy
MANILA -- Three computer retailers in Quezon City and Muntinlupa were nabbed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for committing software piracy.
The computer retailers, namely the Microstation Computer Center Inc., Starapple Computer Corporation and PC Chain Superstores, were caught selling branded computers loaded with pirated software.
By virtue of a search warrant, the NBI and the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) raided the three computer retailers and caught the employees hardloading unlicensed software in the computers.
The raid yielded P375,000 worth of pirated software.
"Retail stores must refrain from loading the computers they sell with pirated software. Hardloading of pirated software can expose its consumers to serious malware and virus attacks which can lead to data theft and losses," said Atty. Dante Jacinto, chief of NBI's Intellectual Property Rights Division.
Jacinto said consumers should also ensure that the computers they are buying are loaded with original software.
"Just because the computers being bought are well-known brands is no assurance that they are loaded with original software," he said.
Business operators of the three computer retailers will be facing criminal charges. A hold departure order may also be issued against them.
Aside from the possibility of having their business permits cancelled, they may also face tax investigation.
Sales personnel as well as technicians will also be subjected to criminal charges if found guilty of hardloading pirated software.
According to a study conducted by the Microsoft Forensics team, units of multinational brands Acer, Lenovo, and HP were found to be the most susceptible to being loaded with pirated software.
Reproduction or copying of copyrighted computer software without authorization constitutes an act of piracy which subject companies and senior management to penalties including imprisonment and fine.
"Continued use and selling of pirated software does not only expose your consumers to harm but, it also subjects you, your employees, your businesses and your consumers to numerous risks including loss of property and criminal prosecution," Jacinto said.
The NBI is a member of the PAPT. Together with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, Optical Media Board and Philippine National Police, PAPT aims to strengthen the protection of intellectual property in the country.