THAILAND: THAILAND DECISION TO JOIN WIPO INTERNET TREATY

The WIPO Internet Treaty, consisting of WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) whihc were implemented on 6th October 2002, contains 96 contracting parties including the United States of America, European Union, Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and ASEAN countries including Singapore Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei. Its aim is to elevate the level of protection of works and the rights of authors in the digital environment, apart from the existing Berne Convention.

WCT aims to develop and maintain the protection of the rights of the author in their literary and artistic work while WPPT aims to develop and maintain a balance between the rights of performers and the producers of phonograms and the larger public interest. However, both treaties have recognized the need to introduce new international rules in accordance with new economic, social, cultural and technological developments.

Even though most of the provisions in the Thai Copyright Act are already in accordance with the WCT and WPPT, it has been indicated that some provisions that may require greater implementation:
– Article 6 – Rights of distribution
Authors of literary and artistic works shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing the making available to the public of the original and copies of their works through sale or other transfer of ownership.
– Article 7 – Rights of Rental
Authors of computer programs; cinematographic works; and works embodied in phonograms, as determined in the national law of Contracting Parties, shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing commercial rental to the public of the originals or copies of their work.
– Article 8 – Rights of communication to the Public
Authors of literary and artistic works shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that members of the public may access these works from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.
– Article 9 – Duration of protection of photographic work
Contracting parties shall not apply Article 7(4) of the Berne Convention. MCT member country must specify the duration of protection of photographic work by applying Article 7(1) of the Berne Convention, where the term of protection granted by this Convention shall be the life of the author and fifty years after his death.
– Article 10 – Limitation and exceptions
Contracting parties may provide limitation or exception to the rights granted to authors of literary and artistic work in certain special cases which will not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work and will not prejudice the legitimate interest of the author.
– Article 11 – Technological Measures
Contracting parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors.
– Article 12 – Rights Management Information
Contracting Parties shall provide adequate and effective legal remedies against the protection of rights management information in the form of electronic.

Although Thailand has not yet joined the WCT and WPPT, Thailand Ministry of Commerce, along with Department of Intellectual Property have organized an open discussion to discuss whether Thailand should join both treaties, this event was organized on 9th of August 2018. The attendee of this events included public authorities such as the Economic Crime Suppression Division and Customs officials. During the event both agreed that joining both of treaties was a preference as this will elevate Thailand’s standards to an international level and will help with the ever-changing economy, society and technology. As the Thai Copyright Act 2537 still falls short of the standard for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights, this will help improve the provisions to be in accordance with the WCT and WPPT in the digital environment.

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