The long-awaited Copyright Act amendments have been approved and published in the Royal Gazette and became law on Aug. 23.
The law readies Thailand to gain access to the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and bring the law up to date in dealing with online piracy and addressing various copyright issues in the digital age.
Photographic works will be protected for the lifetime of the author plus 50 years instead of just the initial 50 years. However, that will not apply to works that lost protection before the implementation of the law.
Service providers are exempt from liability for copyright infringement committed by users. The new provisions set out both general and specific requirements for service providers to qualify for safe harbor under the act.
Previously, the copyright owner would have to file an injunction with a court to have copyright infringement removed, and then must initiate legal proceedings to have the data removed.
Now, the copyright owner can send a notice of infringement to the service provider about allegedly infringing content and request for removal of the work. If the notice meets requirements, the service provider must remove the content immediately, but must also provide notice to the person who posted the infringing content to appeal.
It is important to note if the user submits a counter-notice, the service provider then forwards a copy of the counter-notice to the copyright owner and notify the copyright owner that it will bring back the removed content or cease blocking the access within 30 days of receiving the counter-notice.
Where there is a counter-notice, after the 30-day period ends, unless the copyright owner files a lawsuit against the alleged infringer, the service provider is required to restore the data or cease blocking access to it within 15 days.
The Act also covers violations of Technological Protection Measures defined as “technology designed to protect the rights of a copyright owner or a performer; or technology efficiently used to control access to a copyrighted work or recording material of a performance”.
This new act should make it easier for owners of copyrighted material to claim their work without the need for lengthy court battles.
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Use or Lose It: Vacant Land Faces Forfeiture
The government warned land owners that property left unutilized for 10 years could face forfeiture.
Section 6 of the Land Code allows the seizure of privately-owned vacant land left unutilized for 10 consecutive years. Fences and tax payments do not set the basis for the land being utilized. However, plots designated for residences are not considered abandoned even if no house is built on the property.
There have been no seizures of vacant land by the government in more than 40 years, but owners of vacant land that had been slated for hotels are concerned since the pandemic put construction on hold.
Minimum Wage Increases Oct. 1
The daily minimum wage has been scheduled to rise 5% starting Oct. 1, pending Cabinet approval. The new rates will range from 328-354 baht, depending on the province. Chonburi, Rayong, and Phuket have the highest daily minimum wage, while Bangkok will see the biggest rise.