In recent years, advances in technology have created changes
in the manner in which consumers interact with copyrighted
works. These changes have resulted in a significant increase in
copyright infringement online. In response to these changes and
the increase in online copyright infringement, Thailand
promulgated modifications to the Thai Copyright Act. In
addition, the Thai government proposed additional modifications
to the Thai Copyright Act.
In 2015, two Copyright (Amendment) Acts passed, with two
more drafted with likely promulgation in 2019. The two draft
Copyright (Amendment) Bills currently under review modify the
legal duties and liabilities of internet service providers
(ISPs), an issue the earlier 2015 amendments began to address.
The draft Bill was approved by the Thai Cabinet on October 16
2018 and examination by the Office of the Council of State will
take place before its presentation to the National Legislative
Prior to the 2015 amendments, the Copyright Act contained no
requirements for ISPs to assist copyright holders in protecting
their rights against online infringers. In addition, the
Copyright Act contained no specific procedures for copyright
holders to obtain such assistance from ISPs. These deficiencies
in the Copyright Act adversely affected copyright owners, which
in turn adversely affected commerce in Thailand.
To address the deficiencies in the Thai Copyright Act, the
Copyright Act (No. 2) B.E. 2558 (2015) added Section 32/3,
giving copyright holders recourse to petition competent courts
for injunctions requiring ISPs, through whose services the
alleged infringement occurred, to remove infringing content.
Upon grant of an injunction, ISPs must remove infringing
content, while the copyright holder must initiate a lawsuit
against the alleged infringer within the time set by a
Although Section 32/3 strengthened the position of copyright
holders against copyright infringement, Section 32/3 resulted
in ISPs categorically refusing to cooperate with copyright
owners for takedowns where no court injunctions existed.
Further, Section 32/3 requires copyright holders to bring legal
actions within the time set by the courts. Where copyright
holders fail to bring such actions, the courts remove the
injunctions along with the ISP's obligations. In practice,
copyright holders face great challenges to filing lawsuits
against alleged infringers, because once the ISP has discharged
its obligation by taking down or blocking the allegedly
infringing content, no effective means exist for copyright
holders to investigate the alleged infringement.
To summarise, under the current system, takedowns of
infringing content only occur after petitioning the courts. As
ISPs lack other incentives to assist with stopping copyright
infringement, ISPs fail to assist copyright holders. Without
the assistance of ISPs, short of court actions, copyright
owners seldom succeed in stopping infringement by alleged
infringers. Provisions in the draft Copyright Amendment Bill
will address this deficiency.
The draft Bill proposes replacing Section 32/3 with
procedures requiring active participation from ISPs. Under the
proposed amendments, copyright holders submit notifications in
writing to the relevant ISPs. These notifications will request
the ISPs to block access to infringing content. The
notifications must set out details as prescribed by law such as
the identity of the work infringed and the location of the
Once the copyright holder submits the notification to an
ISP, the ISP must comply with the notification and notify the
alleged infringer of the copyright holder's claims. The alleged
infringer can submit a response in writing. If the alleged
infringer submits a response, the ISP must notify the copyright
holder restoration of the alleged infringing content will take
place within 15 days of the ISP's receipt of the infringer's
response, unless the copyright holder commences a court action
against the alleged infringer by that time.
The procedural changes in the draft Bill will make it easier
for copyright holders to protect against online infringement.
This welcome modification reflects Thailand's desire for the
Thai Copyright Act to keep pace with the modifications in
technology that make it easier for copyright infringement to
We will monitor the draft Bill's progress and provide
further updates on all significant developments.
Spruson & Ferguson
Nos. 496-502 Amarin Plaza BuildingUnit Nos. 1806-1807,
18th Floor, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini Sub-District, Pathumwan
District, Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Tel: +66 2 305 6893