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Video industry calls for stricter copyright enforcement in Thailand

Aug 23. 2019
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By The Nation

A Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit held at the Ministry of Commerce Building in Nonthaburi on Thursday attracted over 130 delegates from the government, the content industry and media.

Streaming piracy and the illicit streaming device (ISD) ecosystem is impacting all Thai and international businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content, the summit heard. It is affecting every aspect of the video ecosystem from independent Thai production companies, to start-ups that never get the chance to launch, as well as technology and service providers that are now an integral part of the content industry.

The anti-piracy summit was an opportunity for government and senior executives from both the Thai and international content industry to discuss the current landscape of intellectual property protection in Thailand, and to also debate the effectiveness of anti-piracy strategies that have been adopted in Thailand and around the Asia Pacific region.

The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), Ministry of Commerce (MOC), Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) and TrueVisions hosted the summit.

“TrueVisions has always emphasised the importance of copyright and strictly complied with rules and regulations [pertaining to] copyright ownership in every content category, from film to music and entertainment, and especially the rights for live broadcast of world-class sports programmes,” Chulathai Saligupta, the director of programming sport, for True Visions Group Co Ltd, told the summit.

“In the past, there have been many rights violations in Thailand from the World Cup to English Premier League. Currently, there are still rights violations but they are being conducted in a different manner. Previously, the violation was done via cable TV but now it is carried out on the internet and mobile applications instead, which is more difficult to detect. If this kind of this violation continues, the global rights owners would eventually terminate their broadcasting signals to Thailand. As a result, Thai football fans would no longer have access to live matches including other quality international content. If Thai audiences understand and comply with copyright law, it would not only protect Thai copyrighted content but also enhance the Thai content industry in every category to reach tge level of international standards in the future.”

The anti-piracy summit included sessions to discuss digital piracy and consumer risk, the efficacy of site blocking, how technology can be used to protect live sport events and working with intermediaries to prevent the flow of illicit revenue.

“Content theft on the current scale is simply unsustainable, and country after country will put measures in place to curb this,” said Louis Boswell, the CEO of the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), which co-hosted the summit.

“It is happening already and the problem will be solved. There is a golden opportunity for Thailand to be at the forefront of doing what is fair and proper. The time for change is now.” 

Neil Gane, the general manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), said, “The commercial damage that content theft does to the creative industries is without dispute. However, what is less apparent to both consumers and government regulators is that digital piracy can also represent a serious risk to consumers. The appetite for free or for paying low-cost subscriptions for stolen content often blinds consumers from the very real risks of malware infection.”

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