On 22 February 2012, the Cabinet approved a draft amendment to the Copyright Act, originally proposed by the Ministry of Commerce, creating significant new penalties and exceptions for certain acts of infringement. Key provisions include (1) a provision addressing unauthorized filming in movie theatres, (2) exemptions for certain instances of copyright infringement, and (3) penalties regarding copyright infringement when minors are involved.
1. Clarification on exceptions for acts of unauthorized filming in movie theatres
Under the current Copyright Act there are certain exceptions from infringement, including but not limited to, research or study that is not for profit, personal use, or use for the benefit of judicial/administrative proceedings by authorized officials.
However, the Draft Amendment amends the Copyright Act to add that no exceptions, including the ones above, may be applied to acts of unauthorized filming in movie theatres, if such filming takes place within 1 year after the work's initial broadcast in Thailand.
2. Exception for the benefit of disabled persons
Reproduction or adaption of copyrighted works for benefit of the blind, the deaf, or people with mental retardation or other disabilities is not deemed an infringement, provided that the purpose of such reproduction or adaption is not for profit.
3. Additional offense when minors are involved
The Draft Amendment proposes a "double penalty" for those who force, coerce, induce, support, allow, or instigate a person under the age of 18 to commit any prohibited acts under the Copyright Act.
The Draft Amendment is currently awaiting approval from the Council of the State and, if approved, will then be submitted to Parliament for final consideration. Assuming it is approved by Parliament, it will then be announced in the Government Gazette and become law.