In what is likely to set a good precedent in deterring copyright infringement practices in the country, three individuals were ordered by the Thimphu District Court this week to pay compensation ranging from Nu 100,000 to about Nu 400,000 in a copyright infringement case to SamuhMediaTech.
The SamuhMediaTech had filed the case after the three individuals shared and uploaded movies belonging to Samuh on different online platforms.
Those indulging in copyright infringement practices, meanwhile, cannot be confined just to the above three individuals. The fact is that copyright infringement is happening rampantly in the country and the main reason is that many do not seem to know about it.
For those who do not know that copyright infringement is illegal and could have severe consequences is perhaps because of the lack of such cases being legally prosecuted until now and the lack of awareness on the intellectual property regime.
For example, international music songs and movies are played and shared freely in the country. There are also a few music parlors and video rentals selling international pirated movies and music songs. They still continue to do the same thing and the shocking part is that those engaged in such practices do not construe doing such things illegal.
Further, there was also a time when our nascent film industry blamed copyright infringement or piracy for the huge loss that they incurred. The scenario was such that even before a film gets screened across the country, pirated versions of the songs and movies in CDs and DVDs could be found all over the markets along the streets in Jaigaon, India.
As laws and implementing agencies to curb copyright infringement are new in the country, this also explains the reason behind the relatively low level of awareness on copyright amongst the people.
Enhancing awareness of copyright and related rights is, therefore, pivotal if we want such practices to be nipped in the bud.
It is important to make people aware that using creative works such as a logo, photo, text or video without permission can infringe copyright law, and that one can face large fines and even imprisonment if we break copyright law – even by accident.
In recent years, we have witnessed a remarkable growth in the copyright sector, especially after how the entertainment sector has advanced rapidly. Further, with the internet and digital technologies witnessing similar development, copyright protected works have become more vulnerable to infringement given the ease of copying and the immediate distribution of such illegal copies to a large number of people.
It has become important as such to make people aware of the consequences of copyright infringement and create an ambience so that there is respect for copyright issues in the country.