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Microsoft denies copyright allegation

Software giant says Southeastern College's claims are "baseless" and intends to "vigorously" challenge the allegations made against them.

PHILIPPINES--The Philippine subsidiary of Microsoft has denied allegations by a local school that the software giant has illegally copied and distributed software in the country.

In an official statement released Tuesday, Microsoft Philippines said the claims by Southeastern College (SEC) are "baseless", and that it "will vigorously defend against this claim".

SEC on Monday filed the civil suit, claiming Microsoft Philippines illegally distributed a locally-developed manual for Microsoft Office XP which SEC owns.

According to SEC, the 379-page manual, called "The SEC Microsoft Office XP Manual" was registered and copyrighted in 1999 by SEC director Conrado Mañalac.

The SEC said Microsoft Philippines in 2004 purchased licenses to print some 10,000 copies of the manual.

However, Microsoft distributed the manual in PDF format, through CDs, as a corporate giveaway during two separate events, without SEC's consent, the company said.

SEC has sought 100 million pesos (US$2.44 million) in "damages" and has named the local subsidiary and Microsoft Corp. in the US as respondents.

Confirming that it has acquired 10,000 licenses of the said manual, Microsoft said the issue was brought to them a year ago "and we worked hard to resolve it, but without success".

"For all intents and purposes, this is a purely local matter which does not involve Microsoft Corporation," the statement said.

The company also said it was "disappointed" with SEC's decision to file the lawsuit, saying that the company has been a partner "with SEC for many years to help improve and transform public school education in the Philippines through our Partners in Learning program and SEC has been a key contributor to this joint goal".

"Innovation and IP are at the core of our business at Microsoft. We recognize that IP, when put in place, allows and promotes collaboration between innovative companies to meet the needs of their customers and also provides the legal foundation of economic growth across the world, in developing and developed markets alike," Microsoft also said in the statement.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT journalist based in the Philippines.