Updates from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation on global broadcasting issues
Regulation / January 2012

BROADCASTING REGULATION Broadcasting The EFF reports that the Indian Telecommunications Minister has met with top officials of Internet companies and social media sites, including the Indian units of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to try to compel them to filter offensive content. The New York Times reported that Minister Kapil Sibal met with executives to ask the companies to create internal mechanisms that would prevent any comments the state deemed “disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory” towards political and religious figures. A Belgian Internet watchdog group (NURPA) has reported that one of the three major mobile Internet providers in Belgium, Base, voluntarily started blocking access to the Pirate Bay. This block comes after a case initiated by the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation, in which an Antwerp Court of Appeals ordered two major fixed broadband providers to block access to the Pirate Bay at the DNS level. EFF also reports from Thailand, which declared at the start of December that Facebook users “liking” or sharing content offensive to the Thai throne could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison; Joe Gordon, an American-Thai who translated a banned biography of Thailand’s king and posted the content online while living in Colorado was sentenced to…

Four charged in Thai nightclub disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2010

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Four people have been formally charged over the New Year’s Eve nightclub fire in Bangkok that left 67 people dead at the Santika nightclub in Bangkok. Three Santika employees and the lead singer of the band on stage when the fire broke out (Burn) have been charged with various counts of gross negligence. The fire broke out in the packed club as about 1,000 people were celebrating the start of the New Year. Hundreds of people were trapped inside the building, which had no proper fire exits, no sprinkler system, no emergency lights and was registered as a private residence. Witnesses said people were trying to find their way to the single exit using their mobile phones for light. The club was in an area where nightclubs were banned, the owners had failed to get an entertainment licence and the city architect’s signature on the building design approval had been forged according to a Ministry of Justice investigation. Thai police have been criticised for the slow pace of their investigation and there have been many accusations of lax enforcement of fire regulations. Band singer Saravuth Ariya has been charged with setting off the fireworks that police believe…

US puts Canada on the naughty step
Copyright / June 2009

COPYRIGHT All areas The US has added Canada to a list of its top twelve of countries which persistently fail to protect intellectual property rights alongside China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela  While there has been much criticism in the past from the US and elsewhere regarding Canada’s copyright laws, and their failure to take on physical bootleggers as well as the ever growing population of online pirates, it is the first time the Americans have put their Northern neighbours on their “priority watch list” of IP abusers. The report from the US Trade Representative that revealed Canada had been added to the watch list noted: “We urge Canada to enact legislation in the near term to strengthen its copyright laws and implement relevant World Intellectual Property Organisation treaties [which Canada signed up to over a decade ago but never incorporated into its copyright laws]. The United States also continues to urge Canada to improve its IP enforcement system to enable authorities to take effective action against the trade in counterfeit and pirated products within Canada, as well as curb the volume of infringing products transshipped and transiting through Canada”. Read more on ‘At…

Thailand moves to amend copyright legislation

COPYRIGHT 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…

World Piracy News

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet Dutch police and the criminal anti-piracy enforcement team of the FIOD-ECD have completed an investigation into organised criminal groups resulting in the seizure of 17,000 pirate CDs and DVDs and the arrest of six people. Over sixty police offers carried out simultaneous raids on different addresses including a CD/DVD plant. A representative of the Indian Music Association was present because over 15,000 of the pirate DVDs seized were in hindi. Other DVDs included pirated copies of Finding Nemo and Lord of The Rings. Greek figures show that over 1.1 million CDs, CDRs and MCs were seized in 2003 under raids organised by the IFPI (an increase of 46.38% on 2002). In addition police sized a further 521,345 units in other raids. In 2003 1,941 individuals were prosecuted in Greece for music piracy offences. In the Ukraine a joint investigation between law enforcement agencies and the IFPI led to a major raid on a illegal warehouse. 210,000 CD and DVD inlays were seized along with more than 26,000 units. The IFPI say that almost all of the pirated material found in the Ukraine, Poland and other eastern European countries originate in Russia and are then ‘packaged’ locally across the eastern block. As Lithuania joins the…

GLOBAL SALES OF ILLEGAL CDs TOP 1 BILLION UNITS

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers, Artists, Internet A report published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shows that the illegal music market is now worth $4.6bn (£2.8bn) globally. It believes two out of every five CDs or cassettes sold are illegal. The IFPI said much of this money is going to support organised criminal gangs, dispelling the myth that it is a “victimless crime”. Jay Berman, chairman of the IFPI, said: “This is a major, major commercial activity, involving huge amounts of pirated CDs. The IFPI’s top 10 priority countries where labels want a crackdown on piracy are Brazil, China, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, Spain, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine. The IFPI also pointed out that when factoring in unlicensed downloads then “only one in three music products in the UK is authorised.” Despite the increase in the amount of CDs illegally produced and sold around the world, up 14% on 2001, there has also been a rise in the amount of CDs and recording equipment seized. The number of discs seized on their way for public sale was more than 50 million, a four-fold rise on the previous year. The IFPI is concerned in two main…

GLOBAL CLAMPDOWN ON PIRACY

COPYRIGHT Record Labels, Music Publishers The PRS/MCPS Alliance have announced a number of global successes in combating the sale of illegal music product. In ITALY collection society SIAE joined with the police in a series of high profile raids across the country targeting 454 premises and resulting in charges brought against 137 people with 78,000 CDs, 5,000 DVDs and 6,000 VHS cassettes confiscated along with 17 sets of mastering equipment. In RUSSIA a number of government agencies have joined forces with the trade mark protection agency and various intellectual property organisations to tackle counterfeiters. Russia has one of Europe’s highest piracy levels with well over half of all music product sold being illegal copies. In THAILAND the British Government has formally asked the Thai Government to clampdown on illegal copies of music product flooding onto the world market. Thailand is the third largest exporter of illegal music product after China and Taiwan. See Mbusiness7 (PRS/MCPS magazine Spring 2003)