Microsoft Office 2007 is sold at 80 pesos! That’s less than two dollars. Yes, it is displayed and sold in stalls along Colon Street, Cebu City. The oldest street in the Philippines becomes the venue of software piracy.
The same stall sold Microsoft Operating System (OS), from Windows 2000 to Windows Vista. For XP system, buyers can choose, Windows XP Professional or Home Edition. Not just Microsoft, the same stall sold Photoshop, CorelDaraw and other proprietary software installers. It surprises me how the owner of the stall can sleep without the fear of the risk of selling pirated stuff.
Business Software Alliance, foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world reports that 35% of the software installed in 2006 on personal computers (PCs) worldwide was obtained illegally, amounting to nearly $40 billion in global losses due to software piracy (Fourth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study).
The same organization reveals that Software Piracy rate in the Philippines is 71% in 2004 and 2005.
The rate puts the Philippines among the 10 highest in the region. It shows that software piracy continues to be a major problem in the country. If not reduced significantly, it would continue to be detrimental to the development of the ICT industry and of the Philippine economy as a whole, said Ronald Chua, chair of the BSA Philippines Committee as quoted by Manila Bulletin.
The high piracy rate prompt the Philippine government to create a special task force called Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) in 2005. The creation of the team signifies that the government is taking extra effort to at least eliminate if not totally eradicate software piracy. Software piracy poses as big threat to IT industry. To become highly competitive in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the country need to address this issue.
Since 2005, PAPT has initiated not just raid to various institutions that use unlicensed software but also educational campaign to increase the level of awareness among stakeholders.
You may still wonder why there are still many peddlers of pirated software installers. I only cited Cebu but I’m pretty sure there are hundreds of vendors spread in Metro Manila, Davao, Cagayan, Iloilo and even in towns. Whenever there are computers, there are illegal software shared and sold. It’s indeed a sorry state.
Strict implementation of the law is not enough. Our authorities have certain limitations. As responsible citizen of our nation, we should take our responsibility to help our government’s effort in fighting against software piracy. How?
NEVER buy and use illegally obtained software. Period.
Difficult? There are always alternatives. Just don’t settle for illegal.