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  • Writer's pictureNick Redfearn

USTR Special 301 report - Thailand and Vietnam

Updated: May 7

Following our earlier post on major markets, the USTR’s 2024 Special 301 report has 2 SE Asian countries on the Watch List for various IP issues. The specific US copyright concerns are as follows:

Thailand exhibits high levels of online piracy and weak enforcement. The prevalence of ISDs and illicit IPTV apps remains a problem, and there is insufficient enforcement and deterrence against growing online pirated streaming and downloaded content. There have been successful enforcement actions against online pirates through enhanced intra-agency coordination, but the lack of resulting criminal prosecutions is a problem.

The Thai Copyright Act is being amended.  Recommended inclusions are removing barriers to enforcement against camcording, better CMO oversight and better anti TPM measures.

Vietnam shows high levels of online piracy and lacks effective enforcement overall. High piracy levels exist due to the prevalence of ISDs and illicit IPTV apps and Vietnam hosts many film, TV and sports piracy sites and services that target a global audience, such as Unlicensed software use, including by government remains a problem.

Vietnam’s criminal laws set substantial fines and incarceration but there almost no criminal piracy investigations or prosecutions despite criminal complaints submitted by stakeholders (however as we previously reported, one did occur at the same time as the report came out). Vietnam’s continued reliance on administrative enforcement fails to deter piracy. Copyright owners must resort to self-help to negotiate directly with operators of piracy sites to close them down. Challenges include a lack of coordination among ministries and agencies responsible for copyright enforcement, delays in investigations and court proceedings, and the lack of familiarity with IP law among police, prosecutors, and judges. There are proposed Penal Code updates due and a proposal to set up a specialized IP court which may improve the situation.  

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