Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), Ministry of Commerce (MOC), Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) – the trade association for the video industry and ecosystem in Asia Pacific – and cable and satellite television operator TrueVisions hosted a Digital Content Anti-Piracy Summit which was held at the Ministry of Commerce Building in Nonthaburi. The anti-piracy summit was attended by over 130 delegates from government, the content industry and the media.
Streaming piracy and the illicit streaming device (ISD) ecosystem is impacting all Thailand international businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content. It is affecting every aspect of the video ecosystem, from the independent Thai production companies, the start-ups that are never being born, to technology and service providers that are now an integral part of the content industry.
The anti-piracy summit was an opportunity for government and senior executives from both the Thai and international content industry to discuss the current landscape of intellectual property protection in Thailand and also debate effective anti-piracy strategies that have been adopted in Thailand and around the Asia Pacific region.
According to Khun Thosapone Dansuputra , the Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), the Thai Government has given priority to promoting digital economy policy in order to increase value and productivity for Thai businesses to be able to compete globally.
“Thailand’s digital contents are continuously growing and have played an important role in economic development,” he stated. “In 2018, Thailand’s digital content market was valued at 26 billion baht [€765m]. The Royal Thai Government wants to support and protect the growing digital content industry that plays an important role in our economic development. The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) has been assigned by the Deputy Minister of Commerce, Mr. Weerasak Wangsuphakijkosol, to prevent and suppress intellectual property violations both online and offline. We have been coordinating with the public and private sectors in order to improve the efficiency of law enforcement and increase awareness and understanding of intellectual property rights and will continue to do so. These efforts have the added benefit of strengthening Thailand’s economy.”
Chulathai Saligupta, Director of Sports Programming at TrueVisions, said that the operator had always emphasised the importance of intellectual property and always strictly complied with the regulations for all content categories, from films, music, entertainment and especially the live broadcast rights of world-class sporting events.
“However, despite our efforts, we have seen an evolution of piracy in Thailand from small local cable networks to large criminal syndicates that use online and mobile networks,” he admitted. “If these types of violations continue the global rights owners will eventually terminate their broadcasting signals to Thailand. As a result, Thai football fans would no longer have access to popular live matches from the English Premier League, the FIFA World Cup and many other high quality international programmes. On the other hand, if Thai audiences understand and respect copyright and intellectual property, it would not only ensure that the Thai people can continue to enjoy their favourite programs, but it would also protect the Thai content industry and help push Thailand to a leadership position in the growing digital economy.”
The anti-piracy summit included sessions to discuss digital piracy and consumer risk, the efficacy of site blocking, how technology can be used to protect live sport events and working with intermediaries to prevent the flow of illicit revenue.
“Content theft on its current scale is simply unsustainable, and country after country will put measures into place to curb this,” reported Louis Boswell, Chief Executive Officer of Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), who co-hosted the summit. “It is happening already and the problem will be solved. There is a golden opportunity for Thailand to be at the forefront of doing what is fair and proper. The time for change is now.”
“The commercial damage that content theft does to the creative industries is without dispute,” noted Neil Gane, General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP). “However, what is less apparent to both consumers and government regulators is that digital piracy can also represent a serious risk to consumers. The appetite for free or paying cheap subscriptions for stolen content often blinds consumers from the very real risks of malware infection.”