Photoshop for P18? OMB flags sale of ‘pirated’ software, movies on shopping sites
MANILA, Philippines — The Optical Media Board (OMB) on Thursday flagged the sale of thousands of counterfeit software, games and pirated movies on online shopping platforms.
During a Senate hearing on the proposed Internet Transactions Act, OMB chair Atty. Anselmo Adriano said the emergence of the e-commerce market has paved the way for a “new upsurge of intellectual property piracy.”
“E-commerce sites and social media platforms became huge enablers for pirates and counterfeits,” he said.
“The nature of e-commerce platforms make it easy for pirates and counterfeiters to hide in private dedicated marketplaces or move between different territories to avoid capture,” he added.
Adriano presented slides that showed thousands of counterfeit software listings, including Adobe and Microsoft Office products as well as software games, being sold for “very cheap” prices on Lazada and Shopee, two of the most popular online shopping sites in the country.
“These are selling various items that are found for the Adobe software that is being sold, 1,607 items found for Adobe,” he said as he flashed a screenshot of the listings.
Moving onto another slide, the OMB official showed senators an item for a “cracked” Abobe Photoshop software which is being sold for as low as P18.
“[We also saw listings for] Auto Cad, which you would probably know is very expensive software. We found 92 items being sold on the internet for very, very cheap prices. One is being sold for as low as P40,” he also said.
In addition to this, Adriano said they also discovered around 900,000 OMB-regulated products, like media devices, for sale online without prior license or permits from the board.
“For 2019, we were able to confiscate approximately 40,000 pieces of USBs, SD cards, and internal hard disk drives from various sellers…valued at over P20 million,” he noted.
Lazada Philippines CEO Raymond Alimurung told the Senate committee that the company has an “intellectual property portal” that allows legitimate brand owners to flag counterfeit items and notify Lazada.
“We will react very quickly,” Alimurung said.
“Now it is possibly of course that they (brand owners) are not doing it or that they are not doing it fast enough,” he added.
He also stressed that Lazada is doing its best to address problems of unauthorized sale of such products on its platform.
He added that Lazada works closely with regulators like the OMB and even the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“When we receive a notice, we’ll act very quickly,” he said.
“We also respond to customer complaints so I think it’s important to note that it is not for the lack of doing a lot of things that those (counterfeit items) are there,” he added.
“It’s just that we just have to continue to develop a better mousetrap as these guys try to develop better mice,” Alimurung further said.
As for Shopee, Atty. Jaimmie Hans-Segovia said the e-commerce site also has a mechanism to address counterfeit items.
“We have a procedure for taking down these counterfeit items where legitimate intellectual property rights owners can notify Shopee and request that listing of what they believe are counterfeit products be taken down and we act on this,” she said. [ac]