Department has IP violators in sights

Department has IP violators in sights

Leading online platforms & the Intellectual Property Department are teaming up to tackle online counterfeit goods. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Leading online platforms & the Intellectual Property Department are teaming up to tackle online counterfeit goods. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Intellectual Property Department is teaming up with leading online platforms and related parties to tackle counterfeit goods sold online.

Director-general Thosapone Dansuputra said the department will have a discussion on Friday with leading online platforms including Lazada, Shopee, Facebook and Google, as well as law firms and government agencies such as the Department of Special Investigation, Royal Thai Police and the Digital Economy and Society Ministry on how to build cooperation in networking to tackle intellectual property violations against trademarks and copyrights via online platforms.

Trademark violations online are mainly in the form of bags, watches, cosmetics, appliances and electronic tools. Copyright violations are mostly found against intellectual property rights, especially for films and music.

Set-top boxes that let users access hundreds of pirated TV channels and video-on-demand content, usually with a low annual fee, are also proliferating.

TV boxes often come pre-loaded with applications allowing plug-and-play access to pirated content.

However, for some cases, consumers themselves are not aware that they have bought fake goods, Mr Thosapone said.

"The department is desperate for direct cooperation from the copyright and website owners to make the suppression efforts more effective," he said.

But the director-general said the website owners themselves have provided cooperation with the department and are ready to suspend sales and ban the products once they are informed or notice themselves that fake products have been found for sale on their websites.

According to Mr Thosapone, apart from the Computer-Related Crime Act of 2007, which governs copyright violations on the online platforms, the Commerce Ministry is seeking to amend the Copyright Act to allow copyright owners to remove pirated content from websites without having to go through time-consuming court proceedings.

The amendment bill has undergone a public hearing and received approved from the commerce minister. It is now pending vetting by the Council of State.

The proposed amendments aim to boost efficiency in suppressing intellectual property violations on the internet.

The main thrust of the bill is that copyright owners can send a request to internet service providers to remove copyright-infringing material immediately.

Under the current Copyright Act, copyright holders must petition a court to order ISPs to take down pirated content -- a time-consuming process that may deal a damaging blow to a copyright owner's business.

Under the current law, it takes a long time to get content removed from the internet. The bill will allow copyright owners to send takedown notices to ISPs. After the notices are verified, ISPs must remove pirated content immediately and inform those who posted the infringing content of the removal.

In cases where the pirated content is hosted in another country, the copyright holder must petition courts to order the website blocked.

However, if a dispute arises over who the actual rights holder is, the case will be taken to court. The amendment bill will also ramp up measures against cybercrimes, such as hacking.

Under the bill, those who manufacture, sell, rent or import devices used in hacking will be prosecuted.

The current law does not cover manufacturers and vendors of these devices.

According to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency, Thailand's e-commerce is burgeoning, with annual growth of 8-10% a year.

The sector is expected to be worth 3.3 trillion baht in 2019, growing 14% year-on-year from 2018.

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