Another Thaksin Goal: Eliminating Open Piracy

One year ago - April 19, 2004
A year ago the government was riding high coming of its anti-drug drive. It could pick and choose the issues or new ground it wanted to break, so April 1, 2003 was confidently chosen as the end of piracy in Thailand. We came across this selection of translations from Thai papers from a year ago made by an EC organization in anticipation of elimination of pirated goods:
(The EC_ASEAN Intellectual Property Rights Cooperation Programme (ECAPII) - Report of Thai Press Monitor - coverage of IP-related stories - Period Monitored: 1-14 March 2003)
* Trigger Co.,Ltd, is implementing the CIPITC court ruling that it owns the Thai font PSL, said it has reached a proper understanding with a number of printing houses which agreed to pay subscription fee for the use of the PSL font.
* In a market survey of pirated CD trade ahead of the 1 April crackdown, Prachachart Turakit (3-5/3) reported brisk trade going on as usual in the Chatuchak weekend market, Panthip Plaza, KlongThom flea market downtown Bangkok and beyond. Cheap pirate CDs,DVDs remain popular among both Thais and foreigners. Imports of pirated CDs, DVDs continued in the border provinces in the north and northeast. A number of shops surveyed offer a mixture of both copyrighted and pirate products. Traders reported that pirate product manufacturers may move facilities into Burma and Laos to avoid crackdown in Thailand.
* In a letter from readers published by mass circulation Thai Rath, a lady wrote to protest "how police and those who claim to represent rights holder of cartoon characters that appear in kids and adult clothes harassed vendors who sell infringed products." The lady claimed to be subject to a "well organized raid, taken to an office in Sathorn Road," where those rounded up were presented with a letter, eventually resulting in 20,000-30,000 baht fine in order to avoid law suit. The columnist responded that even though the government's right in enforcing copyright, it should not allow "lucrative loopholes" to arise in the process of enforcement.
* DCM Wattana said he has been informed by the US Ambassador to Thailand that the US government is practising a policy of blacklisting landlords and owners of premises that allow trade in pirated products, in which US businesses would boycott such people as well as those who do not cooperate with the US authorities in suppressing IP infringements. High on the sanction list include the well-known spots of pirate CD trade centres namely Pantip Plaza, Tawanna, MBK, Future Park Rangsit, and CP (owned by DCM Wattana's in-laws) which owns Fortune Tower, Seri Centre and Seacon. DCM Wattana vowed to take stern action against mall owners that ignore trade of infringed products in their premises.
* A senior executive of one of Thailand's major rice exporters discovered trademark infringement -- Chinese rice wearing the jasmine rice label of his company-- while travelling to Chongqing province of China in the Commerce Minister's delegation recently.
* DCM Wattana said he plans to present the government 's intensive campaign to eliminate piracy between 1April to end of June and the outcome to the APEC meeting which Thailand will host with a view to impress the US, so that the US will remove Thailand from its IP Watch list. He said that if his effort fails, he will ask the Prime Minister to bring up the issue at the summit level meeting.
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