Register a copyright: What is it?

First, copyright can be defined as the exclusive right to perform any action under this law concerning the work created by the author, so it is the set of exclusive prerogatives that a natural or legal person has over a work. When you want to register a copyright, you must know that the duration of the copyright is equal to the life of the author plus 50 years. Therefore, the register copyright will still be valid for 50 years after the author’s death. When the author is a corporation, or an anonymous person, the copyright term is 50 years from the date of publication. Applied works of art such as drawings, paintings or sculptures have a copyright term of 25 years from the date of publication.

For a work to be protected by copyright, under the Copyright Act, it must be a work of authorship in the form of a literary, dramatic, artistic, musical, audio-visual, cinematographic, sound recording, sound, and video broadcasting, or other literary, scientific or artistic work.

Finally, acts committed without authorization against an infringement protected by copyright are considered an infringement of copyright, such as the following:

➤ Reproduction or adaptation of the work
➤ Communication to the public
➤ Rental of the original or copies of the work
➤ Total or partial redistribution
➤ Making a work available to be heard or seen in public by asking for money or another commercial benefit
➤ Sale, occupation with a view to sale, offer for sale, rental, offer for rental, sale by hire purchase or offer for hire purchase
➤ Distribution is likely to cause harm to the owner of copyright

For example, a person cannot use an author’s work without his consent, only the author decides whether he wants his work to be exploited or not. He has the choice to register a copyright on his work or creation.

What laws apply?

Thai copyright law governs the legally enforceable rights of creative and artistic works under the Copyright Act BE 2537 (1994).

Does copyright protect the persons?

“Author” is defined as a person who makes or creates a work, which is a copyrighted work within the meaning of the law.

The author is therefore the only one who can register a copyright because he is the owner of the copyright in work subject to the following conditions:

1. In the case of an unpublished work, the author must be a Thai national or reside in Thailand or be a national or reside in a member country of the Convention for the Protection of Copyright of which Thailand is a member, provided that the residence is at all or most of the time devoted to the creation of the work;

2. In the case of a published work, the first publication must be made in Thailand or in a country that is a member of the Convention for the Protection of Copyright of which Thailand is a member, or in the case where the first publication is made outside Thailand or in a country that is not a member of the Convention for the Protection of Copyright, if the publication of the said work is thereafter made in Thailand or in a country that is a member of the Convention for the Protection of Copyright, within thirty days from the first publication;

3. If the author is a Thai national and a legal entity, it must be established under Thai law.

Register a copyright in Thailand

How is copyright enforced?

Copyright is automatically protected for 50 years after the death of a known author or 50 years after publication in the case of an unknown author. It does not need to be registered, but it can be filed with the Department of Intellectual Property.

Copyright confers rights on the creator of a work. Therefore, an application to register a copyright includes considerations regarding the applicant’s ownership of the work to be copyrighted and whether the work has been previously published.

Only copyright owners may apply to register a copyright. Although most copyright owners are the creators of the work, in some cases, persons other than the creator may be the rightful owners of the copyright. Assigned copyrights and inherited copyrights are other cases in which the copyright owners are not the creators of the work.

Firstly, register a copyright establishes a legally recognized basis of ownership for a created work. Register a copyright protect against competing claims of ownership and use of a work. In Thailand, The copyright registration process includes filing the application, examination, acceptance of the application, electronic storage of the application and issuance of a certificate of registration. The process usually takes two to four months.

Of course, registration is not necessary for copyright protection. However, notification of copyright data, including the author’s name, the title of the protected work and the date of creation, is encouraged to the Copyright Office. The notification system is voluntary and has no legal effect.

Secondly, Thailand has a legal deposit system for printed materials. The National Library of Thailand is the entity in charge of legal deposit, implementing legislation governing legal deposit including:

The Printing Notification Act B.E. 2550
➤ Ministerial Regulation: requirements and methods for submission, notification, amendment of notified items, cancellation of notified items, determination of notification form and fee rate for notification of newspaper publishing (B.E. 2551)
➤ Announcement of the Prime Minister's Office: Appointment of the Publication Notification Officer in accordance with the

Legal deposit is mandatory in Thailand. Section 19 of the Printing Notification Act B.E. 2550 provides that printers or publishers who fail to comply with Section 9, of the legal deposit requirement, shall be subject to an administrative fine not exceeding 10,000 baht.

Finally, the legal deposit must be made within 30 days from the date of circulation, which applies to all books printed in Thailand, whether or not they are distributed overseas.

What are the penalties for copyright infringement?

The first Court hears disputes of Intellectual Property and International Trade.

On the one hand, anyone who infringes copyright is liable to a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 baht. If the infringement is committed for commercial purposes, the offender is liable to imprisonment of six months to four years or one or two fines of 100,000 to 800,000 baht.

On the other hand, any person who infringes the copyright by selling the work for profit, distributing the work in such a way as to cause harm to the copyright owner, or communicating the work to the public with the knowledge that it was made by infringing someone’s copyright is liable to a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 Baht. If the infringement is committed for commercial purposes, the offender is liable to imprisonment for three months to two years or one or two fines of 50,000 to 400,000 Baht.

What are the exceptions to copyright?

Although most works are protected by copyright, the Copyright Act of 1994 does not consider the following to be copyrightable:

➤ News of the day that is not a literary, scientific, or artistic work
➤ Constitution and legislation
➤ Regulations, orders, notifications, orders, explanations and official correspondence of ministries, departments, or any other government or local unit
➤ Judicial decisions, orders, rulings

An act against a copyrighted work under the copyright law that does not interfere with normal exploitation is not considered an infringement of copyright:

➤ Non-profit research or study of the work
➤ Use for one's own benefit and that of other family members or relatives
➤ Commentary, criticism, or presentation of the work with an acknowledgement of copyright ownership of the work
➤ News reporting through the media with an acknowledgement of copyright ownership of the work
➤ Reproduction, adaptation, exhibition or display in connection with judicial or administrative proceedings by authorized officials, or to report on the outcome of such proceedings
➤ Reproduction, adaptation, exhibition, or display by a teacher for educational and non-profit purposes
➤ Reproduction, partial adaptation of a work or the making of an abstract by a teacher, or educational institution for distribution to students in a classroom or educational institution on a non-profit basis
➤ Use of the work as part of the questions and answers on an examination
➤ Reproduction for use in a library
➤ Reasonable reproduction for research or study purposes


To conclude, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years. Copyright begins at the time of creation, but Thailand allows to register a copyright. This helps determine the rightful owner of an item in case of a dispute. Some items are not subject to copyright, such as news of the day, government regulations or legislation.

Under Thailand’s Copyright Act 1994, reproduction, or communication to the public of copyrighted material is considered a violation of the Copyright Act. Any person who has knowledge or should have had knowledge of copyrighted property and sells, communicates to the public, distributes, or imports such property into Thailand is deemed to have violated Thai copyright law. Any person who does not respect the copyright will be subject to penalties.

However, a person is not considered to be infringing a copyright if his or her act does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the copyrighted work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the copyright owner. There are exemptions to copyright law.

Protect your copyrights in Thailand

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