Netflix violating Vietnamese laws: officials

VietNamNet Bridge - Netflix’s services are now available in Vietnam but Vietnamese state management agencies say the service is violating state laws.


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Netflix’s services are now available in Vietnam 

Netflix’s video-streaming service has become a hot topic on netizens’ forums.

Vietnamese can use the service with a monthly fee of VND180,000 for the basic package, VND220,000 for the standard package, and VND260,000 for the premium package as quoted on Netflix’s website. Payment by VISA, MasterCard and AMEX is accepted.

A member of a forum said it was surprising that charges were quoted in Vietnam dong.
“The film store is really huge,” he commented.

All foreign firms which provide services to Vietnam but do not register their business and do not have licenses are violating Vietnamese laws.

Meanwhile, some lawyers have raised questions about the legitimacy of Netflix’s service providing in Vietnam. The US-based online TV show and movie ‘empire’ provides services in Vietnam and makes money in Vietnam while it has not offered business registration in Vietnam, and therefore, does not have to follow laws on TV content and internet information management.

The availability of the giant’s services in Vietnam has also raised questions about how it would affect Vietnam’s pay-TV market.

Ngo Huy Toan, inspector of the Ministry of Information and Communication, affirmed that all foreign firms which provide services to Vietnam but do not register their business and do not have licenses are violating Vietnamese laws.

Also according to Toan, the government of Vietnam allows foreign firms to team up with Vietnamese to provide pay-TV services (the joint venture of VSTV and K+ is an example). However, the firms must complete business registration in Vietnam, pay tax to Vietnam and respect Vietnamese laws.

Vietnam sets strict regulations on TV program content editing, translation and content censoring. This means that movies and TV shows all must go through censorship before they can be shown in Vietnam.

Toan cited many legal documents, saying that the pay-TV service has been put under strict control.

Article No 4 of Prime Minister’s Decision No 20 stipulates that Vietnam will ‘strictly control pay-TV program content in accordance with laws on press management; strictly control pay-TV technical infrastructure in accordance with laws on telecommunication management, to ensure healthy competition in the pay-TV market”.

Article No 8 of the decision says content providers of pay-TV must have press operation licenses, and have been allowed to provide programs and program channels to pay-TV service providers.

In the case of Netflix, as it is a firm which provides services across the border, it has to follow Decree No 72 as well.


Buu Dien


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