Intellectual property law
copyright law in Thailand

COPYRIGHT ACT B.E. 2537 (1994)

Thailand law symbol, logo garuda

Whereas it is necessary to amend the law regarding copyright;

It is, therefore, enacted by the King, by and with the recommendation and agreement of the National Assembly as follows.

Section 1.

The Act is called the "Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994)".

Section 2.

This Act will come into force ninety days after the date of its publication in the Government Gazette.

Section 3.

The Copyright Act B.E. 2521 is to be repealed.

Section 4.

In this Act:

  • "Author" is defined as a person who makes or creates any work, which is a copyright work as determined by this Act;
  • "Copyright" is defined as the exclusive right to execute any act by virtue of this Act regarding the work created by the author;
  • "Literary work" is defined as any kind of literary work including books, pamphlets, writings, printed matters, lectures, sermons, addresses, speeches, and computer programs;
  • "Computer program" is defined as instructions, set of instructions or any other matter, which are used with a computer in order to operate the computer or to generate an output, regardless of the computer language;
  • "Dramatic work" is defined as a work pertaining to choreography, dancing, acting or performance in dramatic arrangement, including pantomime;
  • "Artistic work" is defined as a work of any one or more of the following characters:
    • - work of painting and drawing, that is a creation of configuration consisting of either lines, lights, colors or other matter or the composition of such matter upon one or more materials; 
    • - work of sculpture is defined as a creation of configuration with physical volume; 
    • - work of lithography is defined as a creation of a picture through printing process using a printing block or plate to perform the printing; 
    • - work of architecture is defined as a design of building or construction, an interior or exterior design as well as a landscape design or a creation of a model of building or construction; 
    • - photographic work is defined as an image created with the use of an image-recording device that allows light to pass through a lens to a film or a piece of glass and developed with a liquid chemical of specific formula or with any process that creates images, or a recording of images with other devices or methods; 
    • - work of illustration, map, structure, sketch or three-dimensional design with respect to geography, topography or science; 
    • - work of applied art is defined as a work applying any one or a combination of the works mentioned in (1) to (6) for other uses other than the enjoyment of the merit of the work, such as for functional use, decoration of materials or appliances, or for commercial gain; 
    • - given that, whether or not the work in (1) to (7) has artistic value and it shall include photographs and plans of such works;
  • "Musical work" is defined as a work amounting to a song which is composed for the purpose of playing or singing either with melody and lyrics or melody alone, including arranged and transcribed musical notes or a musical diagram;
  • "Audiovisual work" is defined as a work composed of a series of images recorded on any type of materials and capable of being replayed with a device necessary for such material, including the sounds accompanying such work, if any;
  • "Cinematographic work" is defined as an audiovisual work composed of a series of images which can be displayed in succession as moving pictures or can be recorded upon other materials in order to be shown in succession as moving pictures, including the sounds accompanying such moving pictures, if any;
  • "Sound recording" is defined as a work composed of a series of music, sounds from a performance or any other sounds recorded on any kind of material and able to be replayed with a device necessary for such material, but not including the sounds accompanying a cinematographic work or another audiovisual work;
  • "Performer" is defined as a performer, musician, vocalist, choreographer, dancer, or a person who acts, sings, speaks, narrates or performs in along with the script or performs in any other manner;
  • "Broadcasting work" is defined as a work which is transmitted to the public by way of radio broadcasting, sound and/or video broadcasting on television or by any other like means;
  • "reproduction" includes any technique of copying, imitating, duplicating, molding, sound recording, video recording or sound and video recording of the essential part of an original, copy or publication whether in whole or in part and, regarding computer programs, means duplicating or copying the program from any medium of the essential part with any method without a manner of creating a new work whether in whole or in part;
  • "Adaptation" is defined as a reproduction by transformation, improvement, modification or emulation of the essential part of an original work without creating a new work, whether in whole or in part;
    • - concerning a piece of literary work, it must include a translation, a transformation or a compilation by means of selection and arrangement;
    • - concerning a computer program, it must include a reproduction by means of transformation, improvement or modification of the program of the essential part without creating a new work; 
    • - concerning a dramatic work, it must include the alteration of a non-dramatic work to a dramatic work or a dramatic work to a non-dramatic work, whether in the original language or another language; 
    • - concerning an artistic work, it must include the alteration of a two-dimensional work or a three-dimensional work to a three-dimensional work or a two-dimensional work or the creation of a model based on the original work; 
    • - concerning a musical work, it must include an arrangement of tunes or an alteration of lyrics or melody;
  • "Communication to public" is described as making the work available to the public by means of performing, lecturing, preaching, playing of music, causing perception by sound or image, constructing, distributing or by any other means;
  • "Publication" is defined as the distribution of recreated copies of a work, whatever the form or character may be, with the authors consent where such copies are accessible to the public with a reasonable quantity having regard to the nature of the work; assuming that the performance or play of a dramatic work, a musical work or a cinematographic work, the lecture or the recitation of a literary work, the sound and video broadcasting of a work, the exhibition of an artistic work and the construction of a work of architecture shall not constitute publication;
  • "Official" is described as a person appointed by the Minister for the execution of this Act; 
  • "Director-General" is defined as the Director-General of the Department of Intellectual Property and will include the persons entrusted by the Director-General of the Department of Intellectual Property;
  • "Board" is defined as the Copyright Board;
  • "Minister" is defined as the Minister of Commerce who has charge and control of the execution of this Act.

Section 5.

The Minister of Commerce shall have charge and control of the execution of this Act and shall have the power to appoint competent officials and issue Ministerial Regulations for the execution of this Act.

Such Ministerial Regulations shall come into force upon their publication in the Government Gazette. 

CHAPTER 1

COPYRIGHT

PART 1

COPYRIGHT WORK

Section 6.

Copyright works by virtue of this Act mean works of authorship in the categories of literary, dramatic, artistic, musical, audiovisual, cinematographic, sound recording, sound and video broadcasting work or any other works in the literary, scientific or artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression.

Copyright protection shall not extend to any idea or procedure, process or system or method of use or operation or concept, principle, discovery or scientific or mathematical theory.

Section 7.

The followings are not deemed copyright works by virtue of this Act:

  • news of the day and facts having the character of mere information which is not a work in literary, scientific or artistic domain; 
  • constitution and legislation; 
  • regulations, rules, announcements, orders, explanations and official correspondence of the Ministries, Departments or any other government or local units. 
  • judicial decisions, orders, rulings and official reports; 
  • translation and compilation of those in (1) to (4) made by the Ministries, Departments or any other government or local units.

PART 2

ACQUSITION OF COPYRIGHT

Section 8.

The author is the owner of copyright in the work of authorship subject to the following conditions:

In the case of unpublished work, the author must be a Thai national or reside in Thailand or be a national of or reside in a country which is a member of the Convention for the protection of copyright of which Thailand is a member, provided that the residence must be at all time or most of the time spent on the creation of the work ;

In the case of published work, the first publication must be made in Thailand or in a country which is a member of the Convention for the copyright protection of which Thailand is a member, or in the case the first publication is made outside Thailand or in a country which is not member of the Convention for the copyright protection of which Thailand is a member, if the publication of the said work is subsequently made in Thailand or in a country which is member of the Convention for the copyright protection of which Thailand is a member within thirty days as from the first publication, or the author has the qualifications as prescribed in (1) at the time of the first publication.

In case the author must be a Thai national, if the author is a juristic person, it must be established under the Thai law.

Section 9.

Copyright in the work created by the author in the course of employment vests in the author unless it has been otherwise agreed in writing; provided that the employer is entitled to communicate such work to public in accordance with the purpose of the employment.

Section 10.

Copyright in the work created in the course of commission vests in the employer, unless the author and the employer have agreed otherwise.

Section 11.

Copyright in the work which is an adaptation of a copyright work by virtue of this Act done with the consent of the owner of copyright vests in the person who makes such adaptation but without prejudice to the owner of copyright in the work, created by the original author, which is adapted.

Section 12.

Copyright in the work which is a compilation or a composition of copyright works by virtue of this Act done with the consent of the owners of copyright or a compilation or a composition of data or the materials which are readable, or conveyable by a machine or other apparatus vests in the person who makes the compilation or the composition; provided that he has done so by means of selection or arrangement in the manner which is not an imitation of the work of another person but without prejudice to the owners of copyright in the works or data or other materials, created by the original authors, which are complied or composed.

Section 13.

Section 8, Section 9 and Section 10 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the acquisition of copyright under Section 11 or Section 12.

Section 14.

Ministries, Departments or other government or local units are the owners of copyright in the works created in the course of employment, order or control unless it is otherwise agreed in writing. 

PART 3

COPYRIGHT PROTECTIONS

Section 15.

Subject to Section 9, Section 10 and Section 14, the owner of copyright has the exclusive rights of :

  • reproduction or adaptation; 
  • communication to public; 
  • letting for hire of the original or the copies of a computer program, an audiovisual work, a cinematographic work and a sound recording; 
  • giving benefits accruing from the copyright to other persons; 
  • licensing the rights mentioned in (1), (2) or (3) with or without conditions, provided that the said conditions shall not unfairly restrict the competition.

Whether the conditions as mentioned in sub-section (5) of paragraph one are unfair restrictions of competition or not shall be considered in accordance with the rules, methods and conditions set forth in the Ministerial Regulation.

Section 16.

The authorization by the owner of copyright by virtue of this Act to a person to exercise the right according to Section 15(5) shall not restrict the owner of copyright from granting such authorization to another person, except that the restriction is specified in a written authorization.

Section 17.

Copyright is assignable.

The owner of copyright may assign the copyright in whole or in part and may assign it for a limited duration or for the entire term of copyright protection.

The assignment of copyright by other means, except by inheritance, must be made in writing with signatures of the assignor and the assignee. If the duration is not specified in the assignment contract, the assignment shall be deemed to last for ten years.

Section 18.

The author of a copyright work by virtue of this Act is entitled to identify himself as the author and to prohibit the assignee or any person from distorting, shortening, adapting or doing anything with the work to the extent that such act would cause damage to the reputation or dignity of the author. When the author is dead, the heir of the author is entitled to litigation for the enforcement of such right through the term of copyright protection, unless otherwise agreed in writing. 

PART 4

TERM OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION

Section 19.

Subject to Section 21 and Section 22, copyright by virtue of this Act endures for the life of the author and fifty years after the death of the author.

In the case of a work of joint authorship, copyright endures for the life of the joint-authors and fifty years as from the death of the last surviving joint-author.

If the author or all joint-authors is or are dead prior to the publication of the work, copyright endures for fifty years as from the first publication of the work.

In the case of the author being a juristic person, copyright endures for fifty years as from the authorship; provided that if the work is published during such period, copyright endures for fifty years as from the first publication.

Section 20.

Copyright by virtue of this Act in a work which is created by a pseudonymous or anonymous author endures for fifty years as from the authorship; provided that if the work is published during such period, copyright endures for fifty years as from the first publication.

If the identity of the author becomes known, Section 19 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Section 21.

Copyright in a photographic work, an audiovisual work, a cinematographic work, a sound recording or an audio and video broadcasting work endures for fifty years as from the authorship; provided that if the work is published during such period, copyright endures for fifty years as from the first publication.

Section 22.

Copyright in a work of applied art endures for twenty- five years as from the authorship; provided that if the work is published during such period, copyright endures for fifty years as from the first publication.

Section 23.

Copyright in a work which is created in the course of employment, instruction or control in accordance with Section 14 endures for fifty years as from the authorship; provided that if the work is published during such period, copyright endures for fifty years as from the first publication.

Section 24.

The publication under Section 19, Section 20, Section 21, Section 22 or Section 23 which is the commencement of the term of copyright protection means the publication of the work with consent of the owner of copyright.

Section 25.

When the term of copyright protection expires during a year and the expiry date is not the last calendar day of the year or the exact date of expiration is not known, copyright endures until the last day of that calendar year.

Section 26.

The publication of a copyright work after the expiration of the term of copyright protection shall not cause anew the copyright in such work. 

PART 5

INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT

Section 27.

Any of the following acts against a copyright work by virtue of this Act without authorization in accordance with Section 15(5) is deemed an infringement of copyright:

reproduction or adaptation;

communication to public.

Section 28.

Any of the following acts against an audiovisual work, a, cinematographic work or a sound recording copyrightable by virtue of this Act without authorization in accordance with Section 15(5) whether against the sounds or images is deemed an infringement of copyright :

  • reproduction or adaptation; 
  • communication to public; 
  • letting for hire of the original or copies of the work.

Section 29.

Any of the following acts against a sound and video broadcasting copyrightable by virtue of this Act without authorization in accordance with Section 15(5) is deemed an infringement of copyright:

  • making an audiovisual work, a cinematographic work, a sound recording or a sound and video broadcasting work whether in whole or in part;
  • rebroadcast whether in whole or in part;
  • making a sound and video broadcasting work to be heard or seen in public by charging money or other commercial benefits.

Section 30.

Any of the following acts against a computer program copyrightable by virtue of this Act without authorization in accordance with Section 15(5) is deemed an infringement of copyright:

  • reproduction or adaptation;
  • communication to public;
  • letting for hire of the original or copy of the work.

Section 31.

Any person who knows or should have known that a work is made by infringing the copyright of another person and commits any of the following acts against the work for profit is deemed to infringe the copyright:

  • selling, occupying for sale, offering for sale, letting for hire, offering for letting for hire, selling by hire purchase or offering for hire purchase;
  • communication to public;
  • distribution in the manner which may affect prejudicially the owner of copyright;
  • self-importation or importation by order into the Kingdom. 

 

PART 6

EXCEPTIONS OF INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT

Section 32.

An act against a copyright work by virtue of this Act of another person which does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the copyright work by the owner of copyright and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate right of the owner of copyright is not deemed an infringement of copyright.

Subject to paragraph one, any act against the copyright work in paragraph one is not deemed an infringement of copyright; provided that the act is each of the followings:

  • research or study of the work which is not for profit;
  • use for personal benefit or for self benefit together with the benefit of other family members or close relatives;
  • comment, criticism or introduction of the work with an acknowledgement of the ownership of copyright in such work; 
  • news reporting through mass media with an acknowledgement of the ownership of copyright in such work; 
  • reproduction, adaptation, exhibition or display for the benefit of judicial proceedings or administrative proceedings by authorized officials or reporting such proceedings; 
  • reproduction, adaptation, exhibition or display by an instructor for the benefit of instruction provided that the act is not for profit; 
  • reproduction, adaptation in part of a work or abridgement or making a summary by an instructor or an educational institution so as to distribute or sell to students in a class or in an educational institution provided that the act is not for profit; 
  • use of the work as part of questions and answers in an examination.

Section 33.

A reasonable recitation, quotation, copying, emulation or reference in part from a copyright work by virtue of this Act with an acknowledgement of the ownership of copyright in such work is not deemed an infringement of copyright; provided that Section 32 paragraph one is complied with.

Section 34.

A reproduction of a copyright work by virtue of this Act by a librarian in the following cases is not deemed an infringement of copyright; provided that the purpose of such reproduction is not for profit and Section 32 paragraph one is complied with :

  • reproduction for use in the library or another library;
  • reasonable reproduction in part of a work for another person for the benefit of research or study.

Section 35.

An act against a computer program which is a copyright work by virtue of this Act in the following cases is not deemed an infringement of copyright; provided that the purpose is not for profit and Section 32 paragraph one is complied with :

  • research or study of the computer program;
  • use for the benefit of the owner of the copy of the computer program;
  • comment, criticism or introduction of the work with an acknowledgement of the ownership of the copyright in the computer program;
  • news reporting through mass media with an acknowledgement of the ownership of copyright in the computer program;
  • making a reasonable quantity of copies of a computer program by a person who has legitimately bought or obtained the program from another person so as to keep them for maintenance or prevention of loss;
  • reproduction, adaptation, exhibition or display for the benefit of judicial proceedings or administrative proceedings by authorized officials or reporting such proceedings;
  • use of the computer program as part of questions and answers in an examination;
  • adapting the computer program as necessary for use; 
  • making copies of the computer program so as to keep them for reference or research for public interest.

Section 36.

The public performance, as appropriate, of a dramatic work or a musical work which is not organized or conducted for seeking profit from such activity and without direct or indirect charge and the performers not receiving remuneration for such performance is not deemed an infringement of copyright; provided that it is conducted by an association, foundation or another organization having objectives for public charity, education, religion or social welfare and that Section 32 paragraph one is complied with.

Section 37.

A drawing, painting, construction, engraving, molding, carving, lithographing, photographing, cinematographing, video broadcasting or any similar act of an artistic work, except an architectural work, which is openly located in a public place is not deemed an infringement of copyright in the artistic work.

Section 38.

A drawing, painting, engraving, molding, carving, lithographing, photographing, cinematographing or video broadcasting of an architectural work is not deemed an infringement of copyright in the architectural work.

Section 39.

A photographing or a cinematographing or a video broadcasting of a work of which an artistic work is a component is not deemed an infringement of copyright in the artistic work.

Section 40.

In case another person apart from the author jointly owns the copyright in an artistic work, the subsequent creation by the same author of the artistic work in such a manner that a part of the original artistic work is reproduced or the printing pattern, sketch, plan, model or data derived from a study which has been applied in the creation of the original artistic work is used is not deemed an infringement of copyright in the artistic work; provided that the author does not reproduce or copy the significant part of the original artistic work.

Section 41.

A restoration in the same appearance of a building which is a copyright architectural work by virtue of this Act is not deemed an infringement of copyright.

Section 42.

When the term of protection for a cinematographic work expires, the communication to public of the cinematographic work is not deemed an infringement of copyright in the literary work, dramatic work, artistic work, musical work, audiovisual work, sound recording or any work previously used to make such cinematographic work.

Section 43.

A reproduction of a copyright work by virtue of this Act for the benefit of government service by an authorized official or by an order of such official which is in the possession of the government is not deemed an infringement of copyright; provided that Section 32 paragraph one is complied with.

Tags: law translation

© 2012 thailandlawonline.com. All Rights Reserved.
Do not spend more than necessary for professional legal advice and service and Thai/ English documents in Thailand. All our online documents comply with Thai law and are regularly modified and registered with the government authorities in Thailand.