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Campaign seeks to reduce firms’ use of pirated software

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A GLOBAL organization of software advocates is knocking on the Philippines to be part of a regional movement to reduce the rate of usage of unlicensed software assets in the ASEAN.

The Software Alliance (BSA) launched on Friday the “Legalize & Protect” campaign, together with the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), to appeal to companies to end the use of pirated software.

BSA Senior Director for Asia Pacific Tarun Sawney said it is high time for companies to shift to licensed software to use in businesses, noting that doing otherwise would put them at increased risk of malware attacks.

“Previously, there was a legal risk of you are using unlicensed software in your organization. Now, the risk is to the organization itself. If you use unlicensed software, the chances of you encountering malware is (higher),” he said during the press launch in Makati City.

He noted that critical data and company privacy are compromised when using unlicensed software because they are not shielded by the first line of defense guaranteed by a software provider.

“When you have a licensed software, you have patches that are provided to you almost immediately, or sometimes even before the threat arrives. Why? Because it is the best interest of the suppliers of software that they protect their customers. So they put a huge amount of resources into (addressing) these threats before they actually damage their customers,” Mr. Sawney said.




He added that using pirated software doesn’t just affect the company using it but also its customers whose data are stored in its system.

“The message here is that it is in your best interest to use software for your client base, for your organization’s reputation… If you are under obligation to protect your customers’ identity and privacy, and you use unlicensed software and you get hacked, then you are liable to a lot of suits from your customer base,” Mr. Sawney said.

He revealed that the Philippines has a 64% rate of usage of unlicensed software in 2017, higher than the regional average of 57%, and even greater than the world average of 37%, based on the BSA Global Software Survey released in June 2018. Mr. Sawney said the most common softwares that are pirated are operating systems and anti-viruses.

By working with the government in educating business leaders about the risks of using unlicensed software, the BSA aims to see a 5-6% reduction in illegal software usage in the Philippines over the next two years.

For his part, IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro C. Pascua said: “We want to have government agencies to be conscious about IP (intellectual property). If you’re conscious about IP, you know very well that illegal use of software violates the intellectual property rights of the software maker.” — Denise A. Valdez