Piracy carries jail threat in Thailand

MUMBAI: Thai authorities are tightening the noose on piracy by handing out jail sentences to pirates arrested during joint raids conducted by the Thai authorities and the Motion Picture Association (MPA).


In 2007 alone, 12 cases have resulted in distributors and retailers being sentenced to jail (without suspension) for up to two years and fines of up to $22,000 imposed. In one case, even possession of as little as 78 infringing CD-Rs gained the pirate a three month jail sentence.


This is unprecedented as the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court of Thailand has until 2006 only sentenced a Taiwanese national to jail for two years for owning a factory that produced pirated discs.


Mike Ellis, Senior Vice President and Regional Director, Asia-Pacific for the Motion Picture Association said: “We are encouraged by the Thai authorities’ tougher stance in meting out jail terms and stiff fines to pirates. We have found in our experience elsewhere that deterrent sentences are essential for effective enforcement. To the pirates, being fined is just a cost of doing business.”


“While this is a first step, we look forward to more deterrent sentences. After all, these are but only 12 out of the over 200 cases in which MPA are involved. I’m certain there are more cases that involve Thai films that deserve equally severe punishment,” Ellis continued.