Intellectual Property Law

Heftier Fines proposed for Illegal Video Copying

Date: 30 January 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: Myanmar Times

The Ministry of Information has proposed a 30-fold increase in fines for video copyright violations and sought revisions to the outdated 1996 Television and Video Act.

The proposal, which includes modifications to six key penalty clauses, was submitted to the Pyithu Hluttaw by Deputy Minister U Aung Hla Tun on Friday.

“The law is not in tune with those in other countries and inconsistent with our Constitution as well. Some penalties are just not compatible with this age or time, especially the fines. If the fine is low, people will be tempted to break the law.

We have made revisions and submitted them for consideration,” he said.

One modification is in Section 33, which restricts penalties for copyright violators to not more than three years’ imprisonment, a fine of K100,000, or both. In the proposal, the fine has been raised to not less than K300,000 and not more than K3 million.

The modified fine is applicable to those who copy, distribute, rent or show programs aired by government or related agencies for business purposes. It extends to people in a private capacity who copy, distribute, rent or show videos without permission from the license holder for business purposes.

To Section 33, Hluttaw has added a sub-section that stipulates more severe penalties aimed at deterring violators from repeating offences.

“The sub-section is meant to deter people punished for committing a crime from committing it again,” stated a report of the Pyithu Hluttaw Drafting Committee. According to this sub-section, repeat offenders will be imprisoned from one to five years at least and a fine of not more than K3 million.

Besides, a fine of not more than K1 million, instead of K100,000, would be levied in video copyright infringement cases.

In other modifications, if people who hold licenses are found in breach of agreement, they would be liable to a fine of K50,000 to K500,000, up from K5,000 to K50,000 at present. If they engage in other businesses not concerning video licensing, they will be liable to a fine of K100,000 to K500,000.

Lawmakers can register for the debate scheduled for next week, Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint said.

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