THE Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is set to distribute a new UNESCO-funded copyright handbook in a bid to educate local producers and DVD sellers about the importance of intellectual property rights, according to ministry officials.
Sim Sarak, director general of administration at the ministry's Copyright Office, said Friday that more than 7,000 copies of the Asian Copyright Handbook will be handed out to film and music production companies, as well as CD and DVD vendors.
"This book is very important to teach actors, producers and retailers more about copyright and the fact that they should stop copying other productions from now on," he said.
Sim Sarak said the book, donated by UNESCO's Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre, was a basic source of information about local and regional copyright laws.
"I want Cambodia to become a cultural centre," he said. "But if the writers, actors and production owners don't know anything about copyright laws, it will be difficult to reach that goal."
Som Sokun, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture, expressed similar hopes the book would raise awareness about the problems of intellectual theft.
On March 19, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh signed a directive ordering a crackdown on the airing of films and karaoke videos on commercial television without formal permission from the producers, with offenders facing punishments of up to three months in jail and/or 10 million riels (US$2,440) in fines.
"Some TV and cable TV stations broadcast karaoke films from illegal copied discs without permission from writers," Cham Prasidh said in the directive. "This is a violation of intellectual property law."