Content theft 'costs billions'
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Content theft 'costs billions'

Violations of video-sharing copyright may be costing the country more than 90 billion baht per year, according to a Chulalongkorn University (CU) economist.

Asst Prof Pacharasut Sujarittanonta said abuse of video sharing platforms (VSPs) is causing immense damage to the digital content industry and discouraging the creation of new content.

A study conducted by CU estimates that VSP infringement caused damage worth 58.5 billion to 92.5 billion baht, or 0.35%-0.55% of GDP, in 2017. Sectors impacted include the film industry, theatre, radio stations, television broadcasters and others, where damages totalled 44.7 billion baht. VSP infringement also cost 24,030 to 37,956 jobs, said Prof Pacharasut of CU's Economics Faculty.

He noted that content creators' income mostly comes from the number of views their videos receive. But that income is falling into the hands of copyright violators who air the videos, resulting in fewer creators and less diversity in content.

Asst Prof Piyabutr Bunaramrueang of the CU Law Faculty expressed concern that content creators were falling victim to law enforcement's failure to control copyright violations. He cited the large number of complaints about violations such as the commenting on or live broadcasting of copyrighted content, or violators even live-broadcasting themselves as they criticise original content in the background. In some cases it was difficult to recognise whether copyright violation was occurring, he added.

To tackle the issue, VSP providers like YouTube offer content creators a digital "fingerprinting" system called Content ID that automatically detects copyrighted music, he said. When a video is matched to Content ID-registered content, a copyright notice appears on the video, and the content owner can choose to take action.

However, smaller VSP providers do not offer such protections.

He proposed that content owners be given the option of using the "notice and take down" process so as to encourage VSPs to operate responsibly.

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