Thailand – Plan to Accede to WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Following being a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Thailand is planning to update the Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994) in respect of performing rights in preparation for acceding to WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).
RCEP is a free trade agreement that involves 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, one of which is Thailand since 15 November 2020. RCEP includes a chapter on intellectual property which encompasses various aspects of intellectual property protection, such as trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and geographical indications. As a party to RCEP, countries are expected to comply with minimum standards for intellectual property protection, based on international agreements such as the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other relevant treaties like WPPT. It primarily deals with the protection of performances and phonograms, which are a subset of intellectual property. Currently, the current Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994) does not meet the minimum standards of WPPT. Thus, the Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce is proposing the revision of the current Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994).
What will be changed?
Originally, performing rights under the current Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994) primarily followed the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms, and Broadcasting Organizations (Rome Convention). The definition of “Performers” under the Rome Convention differs from that of WPPT. Under WPPT, “performers” are actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and other persons who act, sing, deliver, declaim, play in, interpret, or otherwise perform literary or artistic works or expressions of folklore. The latter part of the preceding definition will be imported to the Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994). The definitions of “sound recording,” “publicly available,” and “advertising” will also be changed to align with WPPT.
Increase the performer’s rights to have exclusive rights over the recorded performance. The right to receive fair compensation for the use of sound recordings when such recordings have been uploaded on the Internet, regardless of whether it has a commercial purpose or not. Performers shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing the making available to the public of their performances fixed in phonograms, by wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.
Impose fairer remuneration for performers and moral rights for the use of sound recordings in broadcasting or communicating to the public.
Abolish the minimum penalty rate in the Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994) so that the court can exercise its discretion to punish offenders at an appropriate rate.
The benefits of this revision are expected to enhance the performing rights and producers of sound recordings in accordance with international standards. Currently, the proposed revision is in an early stage. It needs to go through the final stage of the administrative level and then the parliament.
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