MANILA, Philippines — It is often said that “the best things in life are free”. In today’s digital world, so much knowledge and data are available at the click of a button, but freedom does not mean one is free to steal the private property of others – freedom ends where the rights of others to their properties – whether material or intellectual – begins.
Intellectual property or IP, however, is something that many people especially the youth cannot easily appreciate or accept. This is because intellectual property refers to something intangible, something that is a creation of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names and designs used in commerce.
Intellectual property rights or IPR are the rights that an inventor of intellectual property earns as soon as he creates his work of intellectual property, which entitles him to protection for his work from being stolen or misused. These rights are protected by the law through copyright, trademark, patent, industrial design rights and trade secrets in some jurisdictions.
Often when downloading from the internet, we are tempted to take advantage of what the internet offers. What we must remember in these situations is that what we are downloading is the product of somebody’s hard work. This is considered illegal downloading and gives ways to what is fast becoming an epidemic in the cyber world today – software piracy through the Internet.
Software piracy is the unauthorized copying, distributing or downloading of copyrighted works. It is punishable by law and if convicted, software pirates can serve a sentence of up to 9 years in prison and pay a fine of up to P1.5 million.
The digital lifestyle of today is anchored to the advancements in software. It is because of this that software has become an important part of most Filipino’s lives but unfortunately, it is also being taken for granted. As of today, 69% of software users in the Philippines are using pirated software.
The global software industry is a multi-billion dollar market. However, with the Philippines’ average track record in intellectual property protection, we are not able to capitalize on the potential revenues that the software industry brings.
The high software piracy rate is largely due to the fact that most people don’t realize that downloading and using unlicensed software is a crime. It is because of this that unsuspecting young people are becoming the most common software pirates.
To help the youth in becoming responsible Internet users, the Business Software Alliance created B4USurf (www.b4usurf.org), a free educational website that provides information about copyright awareness and software protection. This site offers tips on how to enjoy the Internet to the fullest without putting yourself at risk of cyber threats that arise from using pirated software, such as, viruses and malware, identity theft, and financial risks. (Philippine Daily Inquirer)