Three CD pirates jailed in Thailand
Bangkok, 25th February 2009
Thailand's Intellectual Property Court has found three pirate CD manufacturers guilty of copyright violation. Each of the men, the managing director and two employees, have been sentenced to one year plus two consecutive six month prison terms for breaking copyright law, the optical disc law and the Thai criminal code. They were also each fined 506,000 baht (US$14,200) for their role in the operation of the 307 CD plant.
The verdict follows a case that was initiated by the Thai Entertainment Content Trade Association (TECA) investigation team in late 2006 with close cooperation from IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide.
These industry investigators brought the suspect CD manufacturing plant to the attention of the Royal Thai Police's Economic and Technical Crimes Suppression unit (ECO-TECH). The unit's commander, General Wisut Vanichabutr, authorised a raid on the plant which took place on 20th June 2007 with the assistance of TECA and IFPI investigators.
Police officers seized one line of optical disc machinery, a printing machine and 2,500 counterfeit CDs as well as 10 million baht during the raid. Two employees at the manufacturing plant were arrested.
The Department of Special Investigation took over the case and placed criminal charges against the management of the plant. The Department of Intellectual Property and the Office of the Attorney General played a vital role in litigating against the four defendants who all pleaded not guilty.
The subsequent court trial lasted a year with TECA and the United Home Entertainment of Thailand joining the state as plaintiffs. Optical disc forensic testimony was introduced and used in a Thai court trial for the first time during the trial.
Each defendant has 30 days to appeal the case to Thailand's Supreme Court.
Len Hynds, head of enforcement at IFPI, says: "It is good to see that the Thai courts have handed down a deterrent sentence in this case. They are sending a clear message that Thailand should not be seen as a safe haven for those who seek to build a business by infringing the copyright of others. Other pirate CD manufacturers in the country should take heed of this sentence and shut their operations down before they face jail themselves.
"This case also shows the strengths of IFPI's forensic team, who supported TECA by analysing several counterfeit discs and tracing the source of them back to the pirate's operation. The team has unparalleled experience in investigating the origin of pirate discs and have supported police forces worldwide in their investigations."For further information contact:
Alex Jacob, IFPI London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7935 (Press Office)