Software Piracy in the Philippines

 Software piracy is one of the prevalent problems of the IT industry today. Unsurprisingly, Philippines wasn’t spared from it. We, Filipinos are huge fans of cheap products. The piracy craze started with bags. You can see LV’s everywhere, even market vendors have Vuittons. Then came the illegally reproduced DVD’s, and of course, software.

Software piracy does exist in different forms. Yes, software piracy is not just about illegally reproduced applications that come in CDs. Basically, there are five types of software piracy, the end-user piracy, client-server overuse, internet piracy, hard disk loading, and software counterfeiting. The end-user piracy, which is also known as the “corporate end-user” piracy occurs when schools, businesses, government institutions, and other organizations make additional copies of software without authorization. On the other hand, client-server overuse is when too many employees on a network use a central copy of a program at the same time. Another type of piracy is the internet piracy which includes internet auction sites that offer counterfeit software, pirate websites that make software available for free download, and peer-to-peer (p2p) networks that allows unauthorized transfer of programs. Hard disk loading is another type of piracy wherein computer merchandisers load illegal copies of software to a new computer to make it more attractive and expensive to potential buyers. Software counterfeiting is the most common type of piracy. This occurs when software are illegally reproduced and the packaging of the original product are imitated.

According to the latest IDC Global Software Piracy Study, the software piracy rate in the Philippines remained at 71% during the last two years (2004 and 2005) while software piracy losses increased from US$69M to US$76M. Based on our international standing, we are the 24th of the countries with high software piracy rate. Vietnam and China tops the list which tied with a 92% piracy rate. With these figures, we could say that software piracy remains rampant in our country.

A lot of efforts have been made to abolish software piracy. Government organizations such as PAPT, or the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy team, which is a collaborative effort of Optical Media Board (OMB), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Philippine National Police (PNP) leads the fight against this issue. The Business Software Alliance on the other hand serves as the voice of the commercial software industry to the governments and the international market scene. We also have laws such as the IP Code of the Philippines and the Optical Media Act which gives the power to these organizations to do what they have to do, and that is to get rid of piracy. Those who will go against the law will be penalized. First offense: imprisonment of 1 to 3 years plus a fine ranging from P50,000 to P150,000. Second offense: imprisonment of 3 years and 1 day to 6 years plus a fine ranging from P150,000 to P500,000. Third offense: imprisonment of 6 years and 1 day to 9 years plus a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1.5M.

Despite all the efforts of the government and all, I think software piracy can’t be completely abolished. As long as people buy pirated software, the “pirates” would still continue to produce these illegal goods. With this situation going on, the IT industry is the one that suffers the most. Billions of pesos of revenue was lost and lots of IT workers have lost their jobs. In the long run, it would be the consumers who will suffer because these software companies would no longer make software that consumers use. So let’s put a stop to this while we can.




  1. Filipinos are just practical.In fact they want cheaper product.Why waste money if they can get and download the software anywhere.Anyway who can caught them.But i am against in piracy.You are right that many i.t will lose their job.

  2. Software piracy is existing because its easy to download the software anywhere.,Its very expensive if we purchase it in the market.Im against in piracy the government should solve this and pass a bill in thee senate..

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