BPO firm faces software piracy raps

Posted on September 28, 2013

A BUSINESS processing and outsourcing company is facing multiple charges for allegedly using pirated computer software, the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team yesterday said in a statement.

According to the statement, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents discovered, through a search warrant granted by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, that San Juan -- based John Ernest Connecting Continents (JECC) was using 96 counterfeit copies of Microsoft Windows XP and 48 counterfeit copies of Microsoft Office 2007, which were estimated to cost P16 million in total.

JECC, according to its Web site, caters to United States -- based businesses in different sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceutical, real estate, and banking.

"Business operators such as JECC should know that use of unauthorized software or misappropriating information technology in its business operations is already a crime. Especially in the BPO industry where they handle a lot of sensitive data for their clients, they are exposing users to serious malware and virus attacks that can compromise privacy and security," said Dante C. Jacinto, chief of Intellectual Property Rights Division of the NBI.

Operators of JECC will face criminal prosecution, which might include a hold departure order, as intellectual property violators are banned from traveling overseas. They also risk losing entry visas to the US and tax investigation under Republic Act 8293, or the intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

"We strongly encourage businesses to cease the use of pirated software. It does not only expose your consumers to harm but, it also subjects you, your technicians and your businesses to numerous risks including loss of property and criminal prosecution" said Mr. Jacinto.

The Philippines has one of the largest business process outsourcing industries in the world. After 20% growth in 2012, the sector is estimated to generate gross revenue of up to $25 billion by 2016, approximately 10% of the country’s gross domestic product. -- D.E.D. Saclag