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Jun 25, 2024 / 16:42

Copyright protection is conducive to economic growth

The digital environment offers many opportunities for creating, preserving, and exploiting products, but it also presents many challenges for both content creators and content managers, particularly in enforcing author's rights.

The rapid development of communications and technology makes it easier for the public to access audiovisual material but also means that copyright may be infringed.


Copyright infringement on rise

As the value of digital content is in the form of intangible property rights, current technology makes piracy too easy. In particular, copyright owners face many difficulties and obstacles in verifying, protecting, and exploiting their rights.

In the publishing sector, Le Hoang Thach, Director of WEWE Technology Company (Voiz FM audiobook application), said copyright infringement has mushroomed, causing direct losses to publishers, tax revenues, and, most importantly, an unhealthy reading culture.

 In the digital age, many book copyrights have been infringed. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

In particular, the most common infringement of audiobooks today is on YouTube channels. With the help of technology, it is not difficult for an individual or group to record audiobooks without the permission of the author or copyright holder, then upload them to their YouTube channel and unfairly monetize from that platform.

In the film industry, according to lawyer Pham Van Anh, Head of SConnect Vietnam's legal department, various Facebook pages have reposted videos produced by SConnect without permission. In addition, SConnect's Wolfoo film and characters have been copied and modified by many parties, both locally and internationally.

"We have sent a request to YouTube for deletion or removal every time an infringement is found, but we have still not been able to remove all of them," Anh said.

From another perspective, according to Tran Thi Thu Dong, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese Association of Photographic Artists, today's copyright protection for photographic works seems inadequate or slower than what happens in reality, leading to photographers' depression when they have to spend a lot of money and effort to create outstanding photographic works, only to have them stolen in the digital world.

"One of the effective measures is to set up the Vietnam Photography Copyright Protection Center soon. It is necessary to guide photographers in registering copyrights and be responsible for monitoring and setting an example in the implementation of laws and regulations," Dong said.

International cooperation

According to Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho An Phong, the digital environment has opened up many opportunities, providing new creative tools and methods for storing, distributing, and exploiting creative works. Digital content creation is becoming a vital area for businesses, content producers, organizations, and individuals worldwide. However, it also poses challenges in terms of copyright protection, not only in Vietnam but internationally.

The challenge is to protect creators' rights and ensure copyright enforcement, especially when digital infringement involves perpetrators from different countries. This requires close cooperation and timely coordination between nations, international organizations, and copyright holders.

 Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho An Phong speaks at the International Symposium on Copyright Enforcement in the Digital Environment in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Vietnam has formally acceded to international copyright treaties to fulfill commitments under the new generation of free trade agreements and to provide an effective legal basis for transparent and robust copyright protection, especially in the digital environment. These efforts align with Vietnam's policy of proactive and active participation in digital transformation and international integration.

"However, in order to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by accession to international copyright treaties and to meet domestic requirements, Vietnam needs to strengthen the capacity of its copyright enforcement agencies, especially in the digital domain," he said.

On the other hand, the development of cultural industries is currently a priority in Vietnam and is seen as crucial for the country's socio-economic growth. Effective copyright protection is fundamental to building a competitive and healthy cultural industry that contributes to GDP, job creation, and export growth. The main objectives, tasks, and solutions for strengthening copyright management and developing Vietnam's cultural industries are outlined in the Intellectual Property Development Strategy to 2030 and the Strategy for Developing Vietnam's Cultural Industries to 2030.

 Xavier Vermandele, Senior Legal Counsellor of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism

Xavier Vermandele, Senior Legal Counsellor at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), agreed, saying that copyright enforcement is a vital component in promoting innovation, creativity, and economic development. It ensures that creators are fairly compensated for their work, which in turn encourages the production of new and original content.

"This is particularly important in today's digital age, where the ease with which creative works can be reproduced and distributed poses significant challenges to copyright protection," he said.

Therefore, effective copyright enforcement not only protects the rights of creators but also fosters a favorable environment for investment in the creative industries. It provides legal certainty for businesses, which is essential for attracting investment and promoting growth in the sector. It also contributes to the overall development of a nation by creating employment opportunities and stimulating economic activity.

Xavier Vermandele acknowledged that copyright enforcement and, more broadly, a culture of respect for copyright are not without their challenges.

The global nature of the Internet and the rapid development of digital technologies have made it increasingly difficult to enforce copyright laws. This has led to widespread piracy and infringement, undermining the value of creative works and stifling innovation.

"Strengthening our capacity and cooperation at the national and international level, among law enforcement authorities and with right holders and other private stakeholders such as intermediaries, is therefore crucial to address these challenges," he said.

Recently, the International Symposium on Copyright Enforcement in the Digital Environment took place in Hanoi on June 17-21 with the participation of delegates from 15 countries (including Southeast Asia, Africa, the Arab region, and Latin America) and leading experts from various international organizations. This symposium is an excellent opportunity to update on copyright protection and enforcement, share policy development trends and technological solutions to combat copyright infringement in the digital environment, exchange experiences, and implement future cooperation programs in copyright management and enforcement activities in the digital environment.