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Learn more about Copyright

Copyright is an intellectual property right and asset that gives owners of literary and artistic works a set of exclusive rights. These rights include copying, translation, adaptation and modification, communication to the public, and performance in front of an audience, distribution, rental, and lending of copies of copyrighted works. Copyrights protect intellectual creations expressed initially and which result from the author’s creative effort. Are you a creative mind behind a work that you now want to use safely? Understanding how this protection applies to your creation is, therefore, very important. Across Thailand, copyrights are protected by the Copyright Act, B.E. (1994) 2537.

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How to protect a work by copyright?

Three conditions must be met for a work to be protected by Copyright:

1. Expression in a particular form: It is essential that the work is recorded on an appropriate medium to guarantee its protection, and that it is not presented merely orally. It protects original creative expressions that exist on a fixed medium such as paper, artist's canvas, optical disc or magnetic medium.
2. The works must be original and are only considered as such if they are the result of an independent creative effort.
3. The author's creative effort: The personality of its creator must mark the work: for example, works created by a computer, even if they are original, cannot be protected. It is relevant to almost all businesses in all industries, not just those in the creative industry. Companies in all sectors should take appropriate steps to identify existing copyrights and consider registering those they think are most important. Adequate copyright protection should be an integral part of a robust overall business strategy.

Copyright is an automatic right that arises when a work is created, which means that some rights can exist automatically without needing to be formally registered. However, the proof of ownership that SMEs obtain by registering their Copyright can save them time and money later in the event of a copyright dispute. Registration is therefore always recommended. Works can be defined as literary or artistic creations, photographs, drawings, models, databases, websites, computer software, images, sculptures, multimedia works, and architecture. Besides, as soon as one of these works is created in one of the Berne Convention’s signatory countries, copyright protection automatically applies in all other countries that are also party to the Convention. One hundred seventy-one countries are currently members of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, including all E.U. Member States and 8 of the 10 countries of the ASEAN (in 2016, Cambodia and Burma were not part of the Convention).

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects all “intellectual” works, in other words, all intellectual and artistic creation, provided that it is original and materialized in any form. Therefore, Copyright does not protect ideas and concepts, but only the work that results from them, Please note that the protection of artistic works has specific features.

Copyright has been able to adapt and protect to technological developments. Particular software has thus been created, while rights related to copyright protect performers and producers of videogames.

The work is a concept that “took shape”. Only that result is covered by Copyright. The design itself is not. Therefore, it is always permissible to take up the idea underlying a work, re-use it differently, and make it concrete in another way.

However, the work must not have a “hard” medium to be protected. A choreography, for example, is protected by copyright even though it has no material support. Thus, ​​creating a website allowing Internet users to send electronic greeting cards is not protected. Therefore, creating such a site will violate the Copyright of those who have already developed an e-cards site. There could be an infringement of Copyright if we organize the site in the same way, for example, using the same interface, the same tips, the same small services, etc. The same will apply to online encyclopedias, or even sites constituting social networks.

Likewise, the technique of mixing music pieces, integrating extracts of songs into a new track, is not protected. A mix in itself is, on the other hand, protected and constituting a counterfeit the fact of making the same mixes.

The subject of a novel is not protected either. In Romeo and Juliet, the topic, which consists of the birth of a love story between two people from enemy families, is not protected. Everyone could take this idea and make it another account or a song, or even a comic book or a painting. On the other hand, we would infringe Copyright if we copied the plot of the novel, the sequence of events, the character profiles, or the passages from the book.

What are the authors' rights?

The author is the natural person under whose name the work is disclosed. Some jobs are composed by several authors or contributors, and may even use pre-existing works that he is not himself.

An author has different rights over his work:

➤ You have rights allowing you to claim that your name is mentioned alongside your work and to oppose the disclosure or use of it, without your consent. These are rights that you can exercise without any time limit and which cannot be assigned.
➤ You benefit from rights that allow you, in particular, to receive remuneration in return for the use of your work. These rights can be exercised up to 50 years after the author's death or if the work performed belongs to a legal person, up to 50 years after its disclosure.
➤ You have the right to oppose those who use your work without your consent.

How to register a copyright in Thailand?

To get this protection, it is essential that the depositor owns the content to be protected and that the material has already been broadcast or not.

We find this situation with the employee of a company that also owns the Copyright in works produced by workers at the employer’s request unless otherwise provided by agreement between the employer and the employee.

Copyright registration serves to establish a legally recognized basis of ownership of a created work. Registered copyrights protect against competing claims regarding the purchase and use of a job.

The registration process in Thailand includes filing the document, evaluating it, approving the submission, processing the material electronically, and granting a registration certificate. Usually, the cycle lasts between three and four months.

How long is the copyright protection for?

The copyrights and warranties given in Thailand vary depending on whether the copyright holder is a person or a legal organization, and whether the work was previously written in Thailand or has copyright international protection.

Unpublished plays owned by individuals are copyrighted for the author’s life and continue after death for 50 years. If several writers jointly own a novel, copyright protection is extended for the next 50 years after the end of the last living co-author.

Written works owned by individuals enjoy protection for 50 years from the first date of publication of the work.

Unpublished works owned by legal entities enjoy protection for 50 years from the date of creation of the work.

Works published by legal entities benefit from a guarantee for 50 years from the first publication of the work.

Does copyright protect internationally?

Copyright laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The protection granted the kingdom of Thailand may, therefore, not be immediately recognized abroad. However, it has been harmonized at the international level. In the application of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, you will be able to benefit your rights in most countries provided, again, that you prove that you are the maker or the author of the work.

What are the penalties for not respecting copyright?

Abuse of Copyright in Thailand is a criminal offense under the Thai Copyright Act of B.E. 2537 (1994). If the crime was committed for economic reasons, imprisonment might be imposed in the event of prosecution.

What if your content has been posted online?

If your goal is to have duplicate content removed, it is essential to report the violation of the Internet service provider hosting that content and popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo, requesting the removal of their search results. Pages containing infringing material. When you reside in Thailand, because the crime was committed in Thailand, you will even have the right to claim this deletion and also to file a complaint.

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