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Copyright violations still rife in Viet Nam

Update: April, 24/2014 - 09:16
Copyright violations remain a serious problem in Viet Nam despite a plethora of laws, especially with movies being pirated through the internet, causing losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. — Photo vov

HCM CITY (VNS)— Copyright violations remain a serious problem in Viet Nam despite a plethora of laws, especially with movies being pirated through the internet, causing losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Speaking at a workshop yesterday titled "Copyright protection for movie and TV programmes in digital era," Phan Vu Tuan, a lawyer and office manager of the Intellectual Property Association (IPA), said: "Not everybody wants to pay for movies/TV programmes they can watch for free.

"Besides, many websites can make huge profits due to the feeble copyright protection.

"And the most important thing is producers do not know how to protect their products."

There are many websites allowing viewers to watch or download movies and TV programmes online for free and making money from advertisements. None of them indicate that they possess copyrights for any of them.

"Many movies have been uploaded on the internet even before they are finished, and both local and foreign movies [suffer badly]," Tuan added.

The copyright violations have destroyed many producers.

Viet Nam has enacted many laws to protect intellectual property, which make internet service providers responsible for online content.

Pham Thi Kim Oanh, deputy head of the Viet Nam Copyright Office, said: "Viet Nam has many multilateral and bilateral agreements and treaties related to copyright protection, such as Berne for literature, arts and science; Rome for video and sound recording; Geneva for music producers; Brussels for programme transfer through satellite; and TRIPS for intellectual property related to trade."

She said copyright owners should apply modern technology to protect themselves, complain to relevant authorities in case of violations, and be ready to go to the court.

"Laws also stipulate fines of VND250 million (US$12,000) for copyright violations by individuals and VND500 million ($24,0000) by organisations."

But she warned that laws cannot cover all violations since in the digital era copyright violations are becoming more and more complicated and users do not want to pay.

"A shortage of human and financial resources and the limited experience in protecting copyrights in the digital environment has worsened the situation."

Nguyen Van Vien, chairman of the IPA, said: "Widespread copyright violation will hurt the development of the country in the context of global integration and the knowledge economy.

"Copyrights have become more and more important in the digital and integration era. We have to learn from other nations to improve the situation."

Jung Taesun, director general of South Korean-owned CJ E&M Viet Nam, spoke about how his country dealt with copyright violations.

"In 2011 South Korean watched around 2.7 billion contents. Pirated products were worth around US$4 billion and legal products, only $1 billion."

Then authorities increased the penalties for copyright violations by comprehensively changing the law.

But the country also began the Illegal Content Obstruction Programme to curb all piracy, he said.

The programme automatically tracks contents copied from the internet and stops the process. It can recognise songs, videos, games, and books, even when downloaded on to mobile devices, according to Jung.

"Many kinds of copyright violations have been eradicated by the programme."

The two countries have stepped up co-operation for copyright protection since January this year, with the South Korea Copyright Centre opening a representative office in Viet Nam.

Kim Hong Eop, chief of the office, said: "There are 100,000 Vietnamese living and working in South Korea and 120,000 South Koreans living and working in Viet Nam.

"Copyright protection is becoming more and more important as economic and cultural co-operation between the two countries increases." — VNS

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