Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Instead of watching movies at cinemas or on television, Lâm Quang Minh from Hà Nội often uses his smartphone or iPad for entertainment.
The two online platforms he most visits are phimmoi.net and hdonline.vn, which offer a diverse choice of local and international motion pictures, including those produced by the Republic of Korea (RoK) on a free-of-charge or pay-per-view format.
The Hanoian is among the 68 million viewers that visited phimmoi.net - an online platform that provides films for free - in August, up 27 million from the 41 million just five months earlier. A similar platform bilutv.com saw its figures jump from 19 million views in March to 48 million in August.
These are only two among the five websites including hdonline.vn that are allegedly top violators of copyright in Việt Nam, according to Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and Media Development Nguyễn Quang Đồng.
Addressing the Việt Nam - South Korea Copyright Forum held in Hà Nội last week, Đồng said neither of the websites had a Vietnamese domain name or a local server.
"Watching movies on the websites that have no regard for copyright is quite common because of user-friendliness," Đồng told the forum held by the two culture ministries and the Korea Copyright Commission to improve the management of copyright in the digital environment.
Đồng said new forms of violations included illegal advertisements and use of unlicensed digital content.
"We needto work with competent bodies in host countries to stop domains and violations," he added.
"Whilst waiting for practical solutions, content providers should be those who prevent flows of advertisement money."
He cited a 2017 report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Viet Nam Competition Authority to point out that 44 of the 50 most popular websites were supported by advertisement providers, an 66 per cent of violating websites were supported by more than one advertisement service provider.
Director of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Copyright Office Bùi Nguyên Hùng said Việt Nam had a basic legal framework to protect intellectual property (IP) rights and a national strategy on the development of IP rights, and had joined international agreements on IP protection and raised public awareness on the issue.
"However, loopholes remain in protecting copyright in Việt Nam due to lax regulations and inefficient management", he said.
Lawyer Phan Vũ Tuấn from Phan Law Vietnam said the legal system should not be blamed for the problem as Việt Nam’s legal system was modern and in line with international laws.
"It is the owner of works [subject to copyright] and the community that makes tackling violations in Việt Nam a challenging and complex task. Service/product owners haven’t paid adequate attention to protect their works whereas the public do not care [whether a service they use is legal or not]," said Tuấn.
South Korea’s experiences
Kim Chan-dong from the Korea Copyright Commission said the RoK was also witnessing widespread internet-based illegal distribution channels and duplication.
"The rapid development of technologies has widened the gap between the reality of copyright implementation and related laws. The development of the Internet of Things has blurred the lines in the use of cultural works through the means of digital devices," said Kim.
To cope with copyright violations, Kim said the RoK had carried out research to build policy schemes for copyright since 2015, and operated a study group on copyright and a study group on responses to technological changes since 2016.
The RoK exported nearly US$1.5 million worth of motion pictures to Việt Nam in 2017, up 50.3 per cent over the precious year.
Deputy director of the RoK’s MBC television network, Lee Chang-hun, said illegal services made the number one position (34.8 per cent) among basic video on demand services in South Korea, whereas only 14 per cent of viewers paid for mobile TV.
Lee said the RoK was one of the five countries incurring the most severe losses from copyright piracy, amounting to an estimated more than 1 trillion won (US$890 million).
A 2016 study by the MBC showed the use of pirated content had tripled legal use.
To cope with the issue, the RoK has established copyright associations abroad to monitor and prevent revenue going to unlicensed websites. In 2016 alone, the RoK sent Việt Nam 44 warnings related to copyright violations.
The Vietnam Digital Landscape 2017 stated that the number of internet and smartphone users in Việt Nam had reached 64 million and 29 million, respectively. — VNS