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Copyright holders lose piracy war

Update: August, 10/2012 - 10:08

HCM CITY— Copyright holders have been slow in suing violators or seeking help from authorised agencies to stop piracy, according to experts.

Last week Dong A Books sent a letter to Dinh Ti Books and the Culture and Information Publisher, saying that they had illegally published the Vietnamese version of Tro Choi Tu Duy Tri Tue (The Big Book of Brain Games).

Dong A had bought the rights to translate and publish the book by Workman Publishing Company from the US.

Dinh Ti apologised to Dong A after it received the letter, and said it bought the Vietnamese translation of the book from an editor who previously worked with the Culture and Information Publisher.

"We're wrong. We're sorry that we did not check the source of the translation," Dinh Ti wrote in its reply to Dong A.

However, Dinh Ti said Dong A had copied its two books.

Dinh Ti said it had signed a deal with Hemma Edition Publishing company to translate and publish Thao Nguyen Dieu Ky (Wonderful Steppe) and Suc Song Cua Rung Xanh (World of Animals-Life in the Forest ), written by Pascale Vedere d'Auria and illustrated by Phillipe Salembier.

The Vietnamese version of these two titles were illegally published by Dong A in 2007, Dinh Ti said.

However, Dinh Ti kept silent about the violation which it had discovered five years ago, according to Sai Gon Tiep Thi (Saigon Marketing) newspaper.

Last year Phuong Nam Book found that Sai Gon Publishing Company had illegally copied its novel Den Khong Hat Bong, the Vietnamese version of Shiroi Kage, by well-known Japanese writer Watanabe Dzunichi.

The novel was translated into Vietnamese by popular translator Cao Xuan Hao who in 2003 gave Phuong Nam Book the right to use all his research and translation works for 30 years.

Phuong Nam Book sent a letter to the Sai Gon Publishing Co informing them of the copyright infringement.

It did not receive a reply, so Phuong Nam sent a complaint to the Literature Publishing House. It had licensed the Sai Gon Publishing Co to publish the novel.

Phuong Nam also sent a letter to several agencies, including the Publication Department, asking for settlement.

Phuong Nam said its letter had been ignored by the Sai Gon Publishing Co. In addition, illegal editions of Den Khong Hat Bong were still sold at bookshops. The publisher had not received any reply from the agencies.

Readers interested in copyright piracy said Phuong Nam must continue the case to the end.

"Authorised agencies who fail to settle the case will set a bad precedent in the country's publication sector," Sai Gon Tiep Thi said. "Viet Nam has a Copyright Law. Copyright holders should know how to enforce their rights."

More than 150 book titles owned by Tri Viet (First News) Publishing House have been pirated in recent years. The company was the first in the country to file a lawsuit against book piracy.

One of two foreign-language schools that were sued by Tri Viet last year for pirating its TOEFL and TOEIC textbooks later issued a formal apology and paid compensation of VND380 million (US$18,000) to the publishing company after out-of-court negotiations.

The Vietnam-Australia Society English Centre was also sued for pirating, but it refused to compensate Tri Viet.

Tri Viet announced that it would continue to pursue the lawsuit against the centre. — VNS

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