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Providing digital content through technological devices is now in the heyday. However, copyright infringement remains a stinging issue.
Selling stolen products in the open air
“If someone steals a motorbike or a diamond worth hundreds of millions of dong, the burglar would be found easily and sentenced to jail. However, the stealers of the digital content products worth hundreds of millions dong remain unpunished,” said Nguyen Anh Trung, a legal expert on content copyright.
Vietnam joined the Berne Convention, which stipulates strict regulations on copyright and the conditions on content product use. At that time, Vietnam’s digital content industry witnessed a boom with thousands of websites providing the contents in music, book and images to satisfy users.
However, to date, 90 percent of digital content products provided on Internet are reportedly pirated, which is believed to cause the loss of billions of dong a day.
The pirated content products include music, films, PC apps and mobile apps. Especially, the sellers can display the pirated products on the open air and they do not fear for punishment. In many cases, they also launch noisy media campaigns to advertise for pirated products to boost sales.
At AppStore, which is considered the “holy land” of iOS believers, the app market, where Apple gives prominence to the copyright issue, Vietnamese apps are getting painful problems.
Numerous applications allowing users to download comics or best seller’s publications to their mobile phones and tablets have been sold openly at high prices. Under the mask of allowing to download books free of charge through selling applications, many members at AppStore have been “bending the laws” to earn money by selling the intellectual property of other people.
A lot of books under the mode of illegal scanned versions have been sold through applications, while users only have to pay once for buying the applications to install on their PCs, tablets or mobile phones.
The representative of a publishing house, whose products have been pirated, said that the provisions in the contracts signed with foreign partners always clearly stipulate the duties of the two parties based on the number of prints, editors and the fixed sale prices. Meanwhile, he is sure that converting the publications into digital content for online sale will not be accepted in any conditions.
Digital music piracy has also been a thorn in the Vietnamese digital content industry. Recently, singer Thai Thuy Linh took legal proceedings against a series of digital music websites claiming the pay of 400 million dong for the copyright. Artist Phuong Nga shed tears when she lost hundreds of millions of dong because her album was copied and illegally distributed on Internet.
Recently, a lot of prestigious websites with legal status have even been providing famous blockbuster films on their websites, collecting fees via messages. Violent films and pirated films, foreign and domestic films, which just hit the screen some days ago, have been available on the websites already.
Most of the publishing houses or individuals who hold copyright of the products, when asked about the profit sharing with the websites, answered with a sigh, because they do not benefit from the digital content business channels.
Combating piracy is really a long lasting struggle. In an effort to make e-publications more popular to Vietnamese people, the pioneered e-book suppliers in Vietnam have offered the reasonable prices of 99,000 dong per book. However, the pricing would not help struggle against dishonest traders.
According to a content provider, 5000 songs are downloaded in every 10 minutes. If noting that a song is valued at 15,000 dong, the sum of money lost is really huge.
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