Thailand moves to amend copyright legislation

January 2008

Record labels, music publishing

Thailand ’s lawmakers have finalised a draft bill to amend its copyrights law in an effort to regulate the collecting of royalties in domestic music industry. The law will require those wanting to collect royalties on copyrighted works to incorporate their business into a limited company known as a “collecting company” and seek a permit for such operation from a regulatory committee set up under the proposed bill. These collecting companies would be required to publicly declare the works for which they hold the copyrights, rate of royalties they will collect from users, and how they will distribute the royalties collected among the various copyright holders. Those who continue to collect royalties without complying with procedures under the new law could now be subject to a maximum jail term of two years or a fine of 800,000 Thai baht ($23,680), or both. Thailand’s current Copyrights Act, in force since March 1995, contains no provision specifically dealing with royalties collection. The entertainment business that uses Thai copyrighted music most is karaoke parlours, which are the key issues intended to be addressed by this new bill and the bill should provide a clear and clean collection system free of confusion and corruption.

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