The new Thai copyright law comes into force in Thailand in August 4th 2015 and may have implications for those online using social networkling sites

The Thai government has given assurances that the new copyright law is designed to protect online media. Deputy Spokesman Maj Gen Sunsern Kaewkumnerd has pointed out that the new law protects owners of copyright to online material.

New Thai copyright law should be of interest to all online users in Thailand
Source: Thai National News Bureau & Public Relations – A spokesman for the Thai government has given assurances that the new Thai copyright law offers protection to owners of online content and protects them from abuse from those using such materials for commercial purposes.

He said the new law was designed to make it easier for the government to prosecute and punish people who edit and use online content for commercial purposs without permission from the copyright owners.

The new Thai copyright law came into force on August 4th in Thailand. The law may be of particular interest to foreigners as many foreigners use the internet and online media as part of a global expat lifestyle. This includes foreigners resident in Thailand who are involved in commercial online activities.

The law was passed by the National Assembly later in 2014 and published in the Royal Gazette in February 2015 coming into force 180 days after. It is an upgrade of the law from 1994 reflecting changes in media activity over the intervening 21 years.

The Thai Commerce Ministry has been very active in the weeks prior to the introduction of the law to warn Thai people about infringing the new law in social activities. ‘Many Thais now use online social  networks to market and sell,’ says james Morris a commentator in Bangkok. ‘Thailand is home to many people with a highly entrepreneurial spirit.’ His comments are confirmed by recent worldwide survey coming second only to Uganda.

The new law upgrades the 1994 copyright act and particularly targets the mechanics whereby third parties reproduce copyrighted materials. The new copyright makes such acts also an  infringement of copyright and provides for more rigorous penalties to be imposed by the courts. The new law also allows for individuals and companies to register copyrighted material with the authorities.

New Thai copyright law tackles plagiarism, boosts the Thai online industry and investment in Thailand

Nakrop Niamnamtham, the Managing Director of an IT security company in Bangkok said last week that the new law will be a step towards enhancing Thailand’s competitiveness and will be a boost to Thailand’s developing online industry. The new copyright act will give more confidence to online developers.

The new law is seen as a key component in tackling online plagiarism which has become a key objective of the Thai authorities intent on strengthening the country’s laws and rooting out corrupt practices. Deputy Secretary for Thai government Sansern Kaewkamnerd warned those writing on social networks to be particularly careful of the new law and its provisions

The old 1994 copyright act allowed use of copyrighted material online in some instances with impunity. The new law strengthens the rights of copyright owners online in order to protect against commercial exploitation online. the law particularly targets those  using copyrighted materials to impersonate the owners of the copyright or to usurp the copyrights holders rights for commercial advantage. It particularly targets plagiarism of online content.

The new copyrights  acts calls for that fines from Bt10,000 to Bt100,000 for those found in breach in relation to commercial activities. Those convicted under the new act also face jail sentences from three months to two years and a fine of Bt50,000 up to Bt400,000, or in some instances both penalties.

The law is also aimed at those marketing and selling pirated goods in Thailand. ‘This has been a key point of contention between Thailand and western countries in recent times, ‘ says James Morris. ‘This legislation will be seen by many international bodies as a positive sign from Thailand.’ The Thai government is determined that the new law will strengthen the legal basis for a burgeoning Thai internet and creative industry as well  as created an environment for more investment in Thai industry. The Thai Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn drew attention last week to key features of the new thai copyright law.

Key aspects of the new Thai copyright law 2015

It strengthens the rights of copyrighted material calling for any online use of copyrighted material to be publicly credited to the owner.

  • It strengthens penalties for those involved in online hacking or violation of online property.
  • It targets online use of copyrighted  content without permission of the owner for commercial purposes.
  • The new law gives internet service providers rights to remove or take steps to protect copyright owners.
  • Subject to its strict terms, the sale of second books or other goods is permissible but online users must exercise caution that another’s copyright is not violated.
  • The authorities have the right to order the destruction of material that infringes the owner’s copyright and to impose financial sanctions on those breaching the law in order to compensate owners of the copyright.
  • The Thai deputy Commerce Minister also warns those engaging in online activities to make themselves familiar with the new law’s provisions before engaging in online activity in particular the sale of second hand goods.
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