top of page
  • Writer's pictureOliver Walsh

Country Focus: Thailand

Updated: Jan 31



Thailand's political landscape saw a significant shift with the 2022 election, which ended almost a decade of military rule and ushered in a new coalition government. While the complexities of coalition politics present their own challenges, there's optimism about the potential for legislative improvements. Economically, Thailand is gradually recovering, fuelled by consumer spending, foreign direct investment (FDI), and tourism growth. As one of the more advanced ASEAN economies, with a strong manufacturing sector, Thailand shows promise despite not being a fast-growth economy currently. 

Recent Developments in Copyright Law 


Background and Current Status 

The latest amendments to Thailand's Copyright Act in February 2022 represent a significant step in the country's ongoing efforts to adapt its legal framework to the digital age. These amendments primarily focused on two key areas: Internet Service Provider (ISP) liability frameworks and Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) implementation. 


ISP Liability Frameworks 

One of the central aspects of the recent amendments is delineating the responsibilities and liabilities of ISPs in cases of copyright infringement. This aspect is crucial in today’s digital landscape, where ISPs are pivotal in content distribution. The new framework aims to clarify the extent to which ISPs are responsible for the content transmitted or stored through their services. This clarity is expected to encourage ISPs to take a more proactive role in preventing copyright violations while also ensuring that they are not unfairly penalized for the actions of their users. 


Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) 

TPMs are digital locks designed to prevent unauthorized access to or copying copyrighted material. The amendments have sought to strengthen the legal protection for TPMs, making it illegal to circumvent these protections intentionally. This move aligns with global trends and is crucial for protecting digital content creators and distributors, especially in the music and film industries, where digital rights management is critical to revenue generation. 

 

WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) Accession 

Thailand's decision to join the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) demonstrates its commitment to aligning its copyright laws with international standards. The WCT provides a framework for creators and rights owners to control and receive payment for their works on digital platforms. However, Thailand has yet to ratify the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), which would further strengthen rights, particularly for performers and producers of phonograms. 


Future Amendments and Expectations 

With the new government in place, there is a growing expectation for further legal reforms. Stakeholders in the creative industries are particularly interested in seeing enhancements in areas such as digital rights management, fair use provisions, and more explicit guidelines for content usage in the digital realm. The copyright holder community is also advocating for changes to address the modern challenges of content distribution, including clearer regulations regarding content hosted on international platforms. 


The Road Ahead 

These developments indicate Thailand's determination to modernize its copyright laws and better protect intellectual property in an increasingly digital world. As the government and stakeholders continue to navigate this complex landscape, the focus remains on finding a balance between protecting creators' rights and fostering innovation and access to digital content. 


Piracy Challenges Persisting 

 

Despite legal advancements, piracy remains a widespread issue in Thailand. Thai-language piracy sites and services, especially those offering illegal sports streaming, are still popular. Notably, the popularity of sites like 123-hd.com and 037hdmovie.com for movies and Siambit.me for music indicate a thriving market for pirated content. The suspected involvement of foreigners in some of these activities adds another layer to the piracy landscape. 

Enforcement Efforts and Legal Hurdles 

 

Intellectual Property (IP) owners express concerns over the effectiveness of enforcement measures. Despite the active roles of three police units - the Police Cyber Taskforce (PCT), the Royal Thai Police Economic Crimes Division (ECD), and the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) - in anti-piracy work, criminal prosecutions remain insufficient. Amendments to the Computer Crime Act, intended to facilitate access-blocking to infringing content, have yet to yield consistent or impactful results. 

 

Looking Towards Future Improvements 

 

The IP/IT court continues to be a robust venue for civil litigation. However, the focus of concern is on criminal trials, which often result in minimal fines rather than more substantial penalties. Copyright holders are hopeful for clearer ISP liability in future cases. This indicates a forward-looking approach to strengthening copyright enforcement in Thailand, aligning with the country's evolving political and economic landscape. 

29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page