After concerted efforts to address IP infringement within Thailand, the country has finally been removed from the US Priority Watch List (PWL). Although Thailand has now been moved to the lower Watch List (WL) category, in order to continue on this trajectory Thailand must continue working to resolve some lingering IP issues, which involves updating certain IP laws. As such, the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) has initiated amendments to the current Copyright Act to address deficiencies with some provisions contained therein. On 31 January 2018, the DIP published the Draft Amendments to the Copyright Act on its website and opened a public hearing to run through 28 February 2018. The key amendments, which are heavily based on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, concern technological protection measures and limitation of liability for service providers.

Technological protection measures

The definition of "technological protection measures" has been amended to include technological measures for "access control" and "rights control." The Amendment also introduces the idea that use of any equipment, products, or services for "avoidance of technological protection measures" to circumvent a copyright is an offense, with some exceptions, i.e., research, national security, etc.

Limitation of liability for service providers

The definitions of "service provider," "user," and "monetary relief" have been introduced to the Draft Amendments to the Copyright Act. The "notice and take down" provision has been replaced by "limitation of liability for service providers," which limits the liability of service providers for copyright infringement based on their respective classifications (i.e., intermediary, caching, hosting, information location tools) and their performance. It also provides guidance for copyright owners on how to issue notice regarding copyright infringement and information for users on counter claims.

After the public hearing process is complete, the DIP is expected to submit the final Draft Amendments to the Copyright Act to the Office of the Council of State in March 2018, after which they will undergo the legislative process. The Draft Amendments are in the early stages, however, and are thus subject to change. We will continue to closely monitor their progress and provide updates on developments as they occur.

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