IPD eyeing digital piracy crackdown
Illegal streaming said to stifle growth, innovation
The Intellectual Property Department (IPD) is launching a crackdown on illicit entertainment content such as streaming of TV programmes and sports as an advocacy group warned that pirated websites expose users to malware.
Thosapone Dansuputra, director-general of IPD, said the agency is working closely with related organisations and firms, both Thai and foreign, in tackling online pirates.
"The digital content industry is under threat from those that stream premium TV shows, sports and films illegally, particularly through illicit streaming devices [ISDs], which have expanded access to pirated content," he told media yesterday.
ISDs allow users to access hundreds of pirated TV channels and video-on-demand content for a low annual fee.
The department has shut down more than 1,300 websites for violating intellectual property and seized assets worth over 100 million baht from suspects, said Mr Thosapone, adding that more than 200 people have been arrested and charged.
"We're closely monitoring it. The digital economy is one of the government's key policies to drive competitiveness. Moreover, the digital content industry plays a big role in economic development," he said following a meeting on intellectual property violations in digital content.
Last year, the digital content market was worth 26 billion baht, he added.
Chulathai Saligupta, director of sports programming at True Visions Group, said piracy remains a serious concern among digital content providers since technology such as apps make it difficult to combat.
"If piracy goes on unabated, the copyright owners may take legal action and suspend broadcasting, leaving viewers unable to access content. If we understand and respect the IP, we will not only prevent violations but also raise the local industry's standard," he said.
Neil Gane, general manager of Asia Video Industry's Association's Coalition Against Piracy, said piracy harms economic growth but also cripples the digital and creative economy. Moreover, ISDs expose users to malware.
"Most consumers who access pirated websites to avoid service fees are not aware that they are exposed to more malware, some of which can compromise their computers."