Princess Sirindhorn honored by UN intellectual property rights group
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will receive an award from the World Intellectual Property Organization of the United Nations for her creative work and championing of protections for traditional knowledge, as Thailand’s tough new laws protecting copyrights and other intellectual property came into effect last week.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director-General Francis Gurry will present Princess Sirindhorn with the award on Aug 27.
“Her Royal Highness has been a champion of the protection of traditional knowledge. She created the trademark ‘Phu Fa’. She also promotes the protection of geographical indications, having encouraged the registration of Mlabri kitbags which works in favor of the nomadic tribe in the North of Thailand,” Gurry said, adding that the princess had founded the Plant Genetic Conservation Project in 1992.
He also noted that Princess Sirindhorn is renowned for her creativity, having been the author of 354 creative works including poetry, paintings, prose, songs, logos and illustrations.
WIPO honored King Bhumibol Adulyadej with its Global Leaders Award in 2009. This October, Thailand will organize an intellectual property exhibition of works created by King Bhumibol and Princess Sirindhorn at WIPO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, during the organization’s annual General Assembly.
Also last week, a new law on copyrights and intellectual property came into effect, replacing the 21-year-old law previously on the books. The new law has stiffer penalties and is especially pertinent to activities and materials on the Internet.
Paiboon Amornpinyokait, an expert on cyber and computer law, said the new law should also ease international pressures on Thailand’s protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), especially with regard to movies from the United States and other countries whose owner rights have been violated when they are screened here.
“Under the new law, copying motion pictures is punishable with both a jail term and hefty fines,” he said. Thailand has been on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Priority Watch List for the past eight years for violations, including selling illegal copies of U.S. movies and the unauthorized distribution of digital content on the Internet.
But Thai artists and inventors in all genres and fields have also been calling for tougher laws and greater protections for their intellectual property.
Jakrapong Kongmalai, director of content as the popular website at Sanook.com, said the law will benefit Thailand’s creative industries as more people will be encouraged to produce work if they are certain their rights will be protected.
“This law will promote the growth of original-content creators,’’ she said.
Mana Treelayapewat, dean of the School of Communication Arts at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the stronger copyright law would help create a culture of respecting other people’s creative work.
Thailand Focus August 10, 2015
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