Could Your Office Be Using Pirated Software?

The Philippines Anti Piracy Team (PAPT) recently raided an architectural firm for alleged software piracy.  This watchdog actually issued fair warning against businesses who may not be aware of the legal consequences of the use of unlicensed software or the unauthorized installations of their own employees at the workplace.

Your best defense, of course, is NOT to use unlicensed software.  Majority of the businesses affected by Anti Piracy raids are small and medium sized businesses, understandably due to the high price tags of obtaining licensed software.  There are legal options for this– consider open source or freeware.

While offices and businesses may actually be using licensed software, a key problem may be in the failure to monitor and enforce anti-copying policies.   The problem can be unintentional as small companies don’t usually employ software managers and software licenses can sound complicated, causing confusion about legality.   In some cases, top management may not even be aware that employees have copied software or installed pirated software.

For added protection, measures must be taken to ensure that no one installs unauthorized software or pirated programs for other purposes without the knowledge of the company.

In the absence of a software manager, instruct all employees to list all the programs installed in their respective computers and submit it to a responsible officer or employee for review and proper action.
Additional safety reminders:
  1. Delete/Remove/Uninstall unauthorized or pirated software and files immediately from your computer.
  2. In case there is an unannounced inspection, stay cool and demand that the inspector show the following:
  •        identification
  •        authorization
  •        mission order
  •        inspection order or search warrant

       3.   Keep within reach copies of the End User License Agreement (EULA),    certificates of authencity, invoices and receipts of installed software.

       4.    If anything is confiscated, make sure that the inspector leaves a copy of a receipt and inventory of items seized or confiscated.

       5.    Never give out money. ( You’ll only attract unscrupulous persons to your premises).

       6.     Report anyone who demands for money in exchange for the items seized.

       7.     Call your lawyer immediately.


Phil. Dept. of Labor’s Program to Ensure Company Compliance of Labor Standards

The present administration is serious about enforcing labor standards for the protection of workers.

The Department of Labor set in motion its campaign against the worst forms of contractualization with its launch of Project Labor Enforcement and Action Program or Project LEAP.

Project LEAP is in line with the 22-point labor and employment agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III, specifically on the directive to the DOLE to promote the constitutionally protected rights of workers.

The goal of Project LEAP is to protect workers’ rights by maximizing compliance with labor standards, including the minimum wage, ECOLA, 13th month pay, holiday pay, service incentive leave, overtime pay, night-shift differential, SSS, Pag-ibig and Philhealth contributions.

Among the things the Project LEAP will look into are the compliance of labor standards in the agricultural industry, validity of Alien Employment Permits and the related Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG).  

The nationwide inspection which is authorized by law as part of the visitorial powers of the Labor department will be conducted by the Department of Labor’s inspection personnel with the assistance of the Regional Coordinating Councils.

Legal Labor Options for Distressed Companies

Balancing financial survival and the rights of employees during economic downtimes can be tricky for companies whose primary concern is to keep the business afloat for the benefit of everyone– shareholders, employees and clients.

Philippine labor laws are typically favorable to the employee with more rights and labor standards deemed by many foreigners doing business in the Philippines as obstacles to business growth.

Small and medium sized companies that struggle with dwindling revenues and lack of financing sources often wonder what their legal options are.  The following suggestions are not magic bullets that offer quick cures for your business problems, but these may help manage brewing labor issues before they escalate into expensive litigation. Continue reading

Beat the economic recession by starting a consulting business

While large companies have been severely affected by the recent global recession, smaller businesses have managed to survive by keeping operations lean and applying different marketing strategies including Internet marketing.  This trend is believed to be a major contributing factor for the recovery of some economies as micro, small and medium enterprises account for over 90% of businesses worldwide and are an important source of employment. In fact, anyone who wishes to beat the economic recession with little or hardly any capital can ride on the online marketing trend by starting a consulting business.

 Business plan

 Preparation is still an essential step when starting a consulting business even if it is going to be home-based.  Your plan should include getting all your equipment, resources, contacts and online marketing tools.  Most newcomers are unable to create a business plan because they only have a vague idea about the business.  Nowadays, many Internet marketers share their knowledge through information products, seminars, webinars and study courses which help beginners jumpstart their businesses. Others share their secret formulas for success through systems that you can easily replicate in your own business. You may need to brush up on the basics of Internet marketing and some special techniques by studying a course or system prepared by a successful Internet marketer. 

 Marketing strategy

 Not all small businesses will need your services. You need to figure out who your real clients are or you may be wasting your time and energy on the wrong market. In fact, Internet marketing experts say that you’ll get better results if you narrow down your market and focus all your marketing efforts on them. Developing a marketing strategy can be time-consuming and costly due to mistakes that you can avoid if you learn effective strategies from proven Internet marketing experts.

 Financial strategy

 Cash flow is the lifeblood of every enterprise including your consulting business.  While most start-up businesses experience cash outflow rather than an inflow at the beginning, your consulting business has the ability to generate income almost immediately if you follow fast cash techniques of Internet marketing experts.  Learn also how to set the right price for your services and how to get paid on a recurring monthly basis from consulting experts.

 The effects of the economic recession may have been unfortunate for many but it can be a catalyst for change as small and medium enterprises are discovering new ways of conducting business on the Internet, an encouraging trend for starting a consulting business.

Tax Compliance for Bazaar and ‘Tiangge" Sellers

The Bureau of Internal Revenue issued Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 80-2007 which deploys the BIR -on- Wheels at areas where ambulant vendors, more popularly known as, “bazaar” and “tiangge” sellers are situated. Bazaar sellers grew by leaps and bounds over the years, much to the chagrin of the department stores and fixed outlets. While established stores regularly declare revenues and are subjected to applicable taxes, ambulant sellers have been spared from these. With the BIR-on-Wheels concept, the BIR seeks to exact compliance by requiring ambulant vendors to issue official receipts and pay the advance sales tax of 200 Philippine pesos per day, Php50 of which is for income tax, while Php150 is for the value added tax. The BOW shall be opened everyday, starting December 5 to December 28 from 11:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening. The BOW shall be manned by two revenue officers who are to ensure that tiangge operators issue official receipts. They are authorized to apprehend those who refuse to do so. Penalties for refusing to issue receipts range from P1,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 for the third offense. The tax bureau will also close establishments as part of the sanctions.