April 29, 2011

The Importance of Copyright Due Diligence

Bangkok Post, Corporate Counsellor Column

Unlike trademarks or patents where registration is required to obtain full legal protection to help verify ownership, qualified copyright works enjoy protection under the Thai Copyright Act from the moment of creation of the work by the originator and do not require registration. Like most countries, Thailand recognizes the creation of a copyright work once an idea is expressed into some tangible medium of expression. Again, as in many countries, no registration procedure is available in Thailand except for a mere recordation. Furthermore, as no document of title is issued to verify the copyright ownership, rights owners are presented with the challenge of how to secure some form of evidence to defend their rights in an ownership dispute or in a challenge to a work’s originality. Caution must be also be exercised in dealing with the licensing and assignment of the copyright works to verify that the licensor or assignor is indeed legitimately entitled to execute certain transactions. Supreme Court Decision No. 5212/2552 concerning copyright in a translation illustrates the need for such due diligence.

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