Piracy hindering Vietnam’s television industry
VietNamNet Bridge - Television companies, complaining that they are losing big money because of copyright infringement, have urged the Ministry of Information & Communication (MIC) to impose heavier sanctions on violators, saying the  television industry will not be able to develop.


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In the last two consecutive football seasons, VTVCab could not broadcast the final football matches of Champions League even though it had paid for copyright. The problem was that it could not control copyright infringement on internet.

MIC Deputy Minister Hoang Vinh Bao said at a workshop recently held in Thanh Hoa province that copyright infringement was getting more sophisticated.

There are three typical television content copyright infringements: 1) infringements on websites, apps and unlicensed OTTs 2) infringements on websites and apps owned by businesses licensed to provide pay-TV services and 3) some radio and television channels using images, documents and programs of other television channels/stations without asking for permission.

Bao went on to say that competition among pay-TV service providers has become fierce in the last three years, which has forced them to slash the subscription fee. 

Despite the lower subscription fee, television companies still find it difficult to develop subscribers because they have to compete with unlicensed OTT TV and copyright infringement.

As a result, the ARPU (average revenue per user) has dropped to $3, the lowest level in the region compared with Thailand’s $12, Malaysia’s $16 and Indonesia’s 14.

Despite the lower subscription fee, television companies still find it difficult to develop subscribers because they have to compete with unlicensed OTT TV and copyright infringement.

According to Le Quang Nguyen, director of Vinh Long Television, TV content is downloaded for reup on YouTube, Facebook and unlicensed websites. Infringers can cheat YouTube’s and Facebook’s automatic copyright checking systems by distorting sounds and reducing picture frame. 

Some websites get signals directly from televisions’ channels of the station without permission and pack the service to resell to viewers or play back to attract ads.

They also create fake Facebook fanpages, post uncopyrighted programs for illicit profits and link YouTube with pirated websites.

Nguyen stressed that copyright infringement is not only made with Vietnamese television channels, but also with foreign ones. South Korean, Chinese and Thai films will appear on unlicensed websites in Vietnam with subtitles just 18-24 hours after they are broadcast in these countries. 

The unlicensed websites are well organized with professional translators who can translate very quickly.

Nguyen Thanh Luong, deputy general director of national television VTV, complained that many VTV programs have been re-uploaded on social networks. VTV is the biggest victim of TV content infringement. 

Nguyen has proposed heavier sanctions on violators to deter them. The current fine of VND50-500 million is too low compared with the profit of up to hundreds of billions of dong violators can earn. 


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