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Microsoft urges government to intensify anti-piracy law

By Ehda M. Dagooc
The Philippine Star
September 16, 2009 12:00 AM
CEBU, Philippines - Despite the government’s constant effort in curbing piracy in the Philippines, Microsoft Philippines reiterates its call to intensify the implementation of anti-piracy laws here as the country remains in the piracy "watch list".

Microsoft Philippines Inc. license and compliance manager Fortune Abelo-Magsadia said the government should put in place stringent implementation of the intellectual property (IP) laws here as well as shorten the resolution of cases pending to improve awareness of IPR in the Philippine market.

For its part, Microsoft had been introducing programs that will help curb the high piracy rate in the Philippines, especially in using software products, through introducing affordable and easy payment scheme for corporations in availing of genuine Microsoft software.

"We are still in the watchlist, [as among those having the highest piracy rate in the world]," said Magsadia, thus there is a need for the Philippine government to intensify its IP Laws implementation.

However, Magsadia said although the piracy rate in the country has plateaud at 69 percent since 2007, companies like Microsoft are also making its move to promote IP in the Philippines.

Microsoft’s Software Asset Management (SAM) program for instance, has helped improve the awareness of Filipinos to use only genuine software. However, this could be boosted if complemented by strong government stance in fighting piracy.

She said enforcement is just one aspect of fighting piracy, "what happens after the enforcement?"

The Philippines should also exercise to seriously put curbing piracy as priority. Longer time in resolving piracy cases is one of the problems that need to be addressed, she added.

According to Magsadia, the introduction of SAM program in the Philippines, has also helped the improvement of awareness especially among companies to use only genuine software.

SAM, enables companies to maximize software investments by letting them identify their needs and match these with the necessary software program available.

SAM is a set of policies and procedures which allow organizations to capitalize on their software resources. This involves conducting software needs analysis and software inventory, comparing installed software with licenses and creating a budget, appointing a software manager and conducting regular audits, and issuing a company policy statement and reminders.

"[Most] Filipinos don’t treat software as an asset. We want customers to practice SAM to maximize their investments," she said.

Starting this year, Magsadia said SAM will be actively rolled out to other areas outside of Metro Manila, to drum up awareness on using genuine software, and its impact to the businesses.

Magsadia revealed that aside from SAM, Microsoft will also be introducing attractive packages, and programs that will attract different sectors in the society to use only "genuine software", thereby helping the Philippine improve its piracy rate.

The Bill Gates-led company is on its way to offer special software pricing for Internet Cafes, companies in the economic zones, and intensify its offerings to the academe sector, and good packages for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) players.

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