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Thailand updates their Film and Video Act to curb Piracy

Due to the recent increase in demand for film production of both Thai and foreign films in Thailand, the Thai Government took the initiative to review its Film and Video Act of 1930 to broaden its scope of protection.

The Film and Video Act 1930 which was updated and has been in force since June 4, 2008 has streamlined the duties of the Board of Film and Video Censors (” hereinafter referred to as Board”) on the new rating system, procedure for foreign film shootings and most importantly on the issues of piracy of movies in Thailand.

The duties of the Board covers

  • Inspecting and rating movies to be screened, rented, exchanged or sold in Thailand
  • Permitting the projection, exchange, rental or sale of movies and videos
  • Authorizing the advertisement of motion pictures
  • Giving exportation approvals of the movies outside Thailand
  • Controlling foreign movies shot in Thailand
  • Determining the criteria, procedures and conditions for inspections of movies & published them in the Government Gazette
  • Censorship of movies based on the new rating system

For the first time, Thailand has implemented a new rating system for films and videos. However, the conditions and requirements of the rating systems has yet to be officially announced. A draft of the regulation has been submitted by the Ministry of Culture in Sept 2008 to the National Video and film Committee and the Cabinet for approval.

In the old 1930 Act, no rules for foreign films shot in Thailand existed. However, since the recent growth in area, the updated Act has included the rules for production of foreign films regardless of whether the movie will be shown in Thailand or not.

Below is the a summary of the procedures required by the updated Act in respect of foreign films:

The Board, will provide the criteria, procedures and conditions for approval

Directors to file an application with the Office of Tourism Development for approval

(Application contains the screenplay, the plot and short description of the movie)

Upon approval, the Director can proceed with the shooting

The updated Film and Video Act also strongly addresses the issue of piracy in Thailand. Vendors of films are now required to obtain licenses to sell, exchange or rent DVDs in Thailand. There are also stricter rulings on the imposition of mandatory requirements on labeling. If caught, the pirates can be fined up to USD 15, 400 and additional of USD 309 per day for conducting the piracy activities.

It is an achievement for Thailand to have reached this stage and their efforts should be further encouraged. Thailand’s initiative is not only beneficial for themselves but also protect the rights of IP owner in respect combating piracy issues.