Govt planning nationwide ban on counterfeit goods
THE Ministry of Culture is set to enforce a nationwide ban of pirated music and films amid mounting international pressure to strengthen copyright and intellectual property protection in the Kingdom, officials said Wednesday.
"We have taken a gradual approach to this issue in the past, but now we must conform to international standards as a member of the World Trade Organisation, which has insisted that we enforce intellectual property rights laws," Lim Yoosou, director of the ministry's Department of Copyright and Equal Rights, told the Post Wednesday.
"The government is taking a stricter approach in order to create a better business climate for potentially large-scale investors such as Microsoft and others who rely on copyright protection," he said.
Kong Khantara, chief of the ministry's Cinema Department and a member of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Music and Movies, said the government has had decrees prohibiting piracy in place since 2003. "We just have to strengthen enforcement of existing laws by cracking down on the sale of illegal music and movies throughout the country," he said.
He said anyone caught selling pirated materials would face a 7,000 riel fine per illegal disc, adding that with so many shops selling illegal goods it is difficult for authorities to know where all of them are. "In 2007 we seized more than 10,000 counterfeit discs nationwide," Kong Khantara said.
Businesses trading in pirated goods have been warned by the government that the ban will be strictly enforced, he said.
"We hope for greater success this time because we have committees throughout the country that will enforce this crackdown," he said.
Previous efforts by the government have shown little progress in halting the near ubiquitous trade in pirated goods.
Music and film producer Kvay Sam Ang said he doesn't expect much to change despite the crackdown. "I have lost a lot of money in my business because whenever my songs or films come out, people buy the original and produce thousands of illegal copies to sell in the markets," he said.