Thai Copyright Act 2015: Intellectual Property Law in the New Technology Age

Enacted since 1994, the Thai Copyright Act B.E. 2537 has remained unchanged despite numerous attempts of lawmakers to modernize the law. The technological advancements that transpired over the course of 20 years made the law over copyright in Thailand unable to tackle copyright infringement in the digital age.

In late 2014, the National Legislative Assembly passed into law two copyright bills, published under the Royal Gazette in February 5, 2015 and will come into force 180 days later[1]. There are 10 major amendments in the intellectual property law that will be introduced to the Thailand Copyright law to further strengthen copyright protection.

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Camcorder Piracy continued as a prevalent concern of intellectual property in Thailand. It remains to harm the film industry, with a reported 42 cases of illegal camcording of huge American films identified between 2013 and 2014[2]. Under Section 28/1, any recording of movies in a film theatre without authorization and is strictly prohibited. A person who committed any offence shall be liable to imprisonment for six months to four years, or a fine from twenty thousand Baht up to two hundred thousand Baht.

Section 32/1 views any adaptation or reproduction under the first sale doctrine as an exception of copyright infringement. Any lawful distribution of a copyright work by a person who has legally obtained ownership of such work is not deemed an infringement of copyright.

Any replication of a copyright work used for a computer system to function is not an infringement of copyright as Section 32/2 allows this for the system’s necessary operation.

Section 32/3 provides an injunction that the copyright owner can file a motion in the court for an order against any service provider. If the copyright owner has evidence that a unauthorized distribution of copyright content is taking place in the computer system of a service provider, the owner may file a motion in the court to stop such infringement[3].

Section 51/1 the amendments in the intellectual property law now provide the performer moral rights to his or her work, prohibiting any person, including the assignee of the performer’s rights to distort, alter or modify the performance that would be detrimental to the reputation or dignity or the performer.

Section 53/1 a person will be liable if he or he alters or deletes RMI (Rights Management Information) with knowledge that such act could cause an infringement of a copyright or performers’ rights, as well as Section 53/2 a person who communicates to the public or, under the commercial law and business law, imports into Thailand for distribution of any copyrighted work with the knowledge that the RMI of such work has already been altered.3

Circumvention of Technological Protection Measures (TPM) is strictly prohibited under Section 53/4. A person offering the service of circumvention can be held liable for the infringement, given that the circumvention was done with the knowledge that such act could cause infringement of a copyright or the performers’ rights.

Section 9 if there is enough evidence that an infringement of copyright or performance’s right has been committed with the intention of allowing the work to be accessed by the public, the court has the authority to order the infringer to compensate the owner of copyright or performer’s rights.

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Lastly, Section 75 stipulates that the court can order any infringing materials be confiscated or destroyed at the expense of the infringer.

Performers and copyright owners are provided with enough information to tackle copyright infringement in the digital age. However, uncertainties emerge as to how effective the introduced amendments in the intellectual property law can battle copyright violations. Copyright owners and performers are still advised to be attentive of the developments in the implementation of the law and also by contacting Thailand lawyers or law firms in Thailand for professional advice.

Are you looking for a law firm you can trust with legal service to ensure protection of your copyright assets in Thailand?

Why not SBC Interlaw? Our law firm has a long history in Thailand with a wealth of experience in legal counsel in dispute resolution and litigation. SBC is a law company an innovative firm and highly committed with passion to our clients. Building on our core values of integrity, initiative and inquisitiveness, we have forged long rewarding relationships with our clients. Our firm is based on a commitment to ensuring quality customer service to our clients. Our background in international law and international business law has given our company a competitive edge in addressing foreign clients’ concerns, and it is this commitment to client services that serves as the backbone of the firm. Do drop us an email or simply give us a call if you would like to know how SBC’s Asian lawyers can be of service to you by clicking here.


[1] Thai Copyright Act Amendments: Updating the Law for the Digital Age. (2015). Tilleke & Gibbins vol.6,no.1 (p. 1,2). Retrieved May 11, 2015, from

[2] 2015 Special 301: Thailand.(2015). Report on Copyright Protection and Enforcement (p. 58, 59, 60, 61). International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).

[3] Thailand: Major Amendments of Copyright Act and Trade Secret in Thailand. (2015). e-News No.40 (p. 11,12). International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI). Retrieved May 11, 2015, from