Microsoft cracks down on Filipino illegal software

In an effort to educate Filipino computer dealers about the importance of protecting intellectual property, Microsoft Corp. has announced the results of simultaneous raids on four computer dealers in Manila last week.

In an effort to educate Filipino computer dealers about the importance of protecting intellectual property, Microsoft Corp. has announced the results of simultaneous raids on four computer dealers in Manila last week.

MANILLA, July 12 (Manilla Bulletin) - Over 23 computers in the Microsoft raids alone were found to have been hard-disk loaded, a practice where computers have illegal and pirated software installed onto the computer ready for sale to unassuming customers.

Software piracy and violation of intellectual property rights is a serious issue facing Filipino computer and software dealers. Rebecca Ho, Microsoft regional antipiracy spokesperson is concerned about the increasing number of Filipino dealers being exposed for trading in illegal software.

"Microsoft is committed to protecting the genuine distribution community and wants to assure customers that they can buy Microsoft software from any dealer in good faith without being put at risk of prosecution through violation of the Intellectual Property Code," Ho said.

"Dealers fail to understand that piracy poses a tremendous threat to honest system builders, distributors, resellers and importantly, the consumer," she said. "Dealers engaging in the trade of illegal software risk their livelihoods. They risk their reputation and could face legal action that would result in severe penalties including imprisonment and fines," Ho said.

"Dishonest software dealers are enticing unassuming consumers into buying illegal software products. In doing so, they expose customers to the risks of buying illegal product and an increased potential to viruses," she said.

"In addition counterfeit software may be missing key elements, which could render the program unusable. The pirated product is also ineligible for technical support, warranty protection and upgrades," Ho said.

Four companies, Informate Computer Centre, Perfect Byte Computers, Computer Expert Corp., PC Live Enterprises were suspected of loading unauthorised copies of Microsoft software on computers and then selling them to consumers without the appropriate documentation, license agreements, original disks or manuals.

According to Ho there have been an increasing number of calls made to the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Truth Hotline number reporting the incidence of dealers trading in illegal and counterfeit software.

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