September 29, 2023
HANOI – Việt Nam ranks third in the region in terms of copyright infringement rate, with 15.5 million people regularly accessing pirated websites. In 2022, the problem of copyright infringement cost the country US$350 million.
Phạm Hoàng Hải, Director of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, a unit under the Ministry of Information and Communications, said that currently, copyright infringement is extremely complicated. There are a series of pirated websites for football tournaments as well as movies. According to data from SimilarWeb, there are currently about 70 pirated football websites, with more than 1.5 billion views in the years 2022 and 2023.
SimilarWeb’s data also shows that there are more than 200 pirated movie websites attracting about 120 million views per month, of which the top 10 have more than 66 million views per month. In particular, recently it was discovered that a number of pirated websites have converted to Japanese Anime comics. The copyright infringement of comic books has also received a strong response from the owners.
According to statistics, from August 2022 to August 2023, the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information coordinated with the Department of Information Security and rights holders to prevent nearly 1,000 pirated football websites like xoilac.1tiengruoi.link, xoivo4.com, coichua.net, tammao.tv, 90link.com, xoilac.live, Xemtructiep.xyz. The list of violating websites is published on banquyen.gov.vn.
At a seminar on copyright infringement this week, lawyer Phạm Thanh Thủy, who is in charge of anti-copyright infringement at K+ Digital Television, cited data from Media Partners Asia, saying that if calculated per capita, Việt Nam ranks first in the region in terms of copyright infringement.
Nguyễn Ngọc Hân, General Director of Thu Do Multimedia Company, added that copyright infringement in Việt Nam ranks third in Southeast Asia and 9th worldwide. Around 80 per cent of violations take place on digital platforms with the most violated content including TV shows, movies, music and books. “Damages from copyright infringement for the three industries of film, music, and television worldwide in 2022 was up to $65 billion.”
Experts suggest that the characteristics of pirated websites include the use of international domain names and information-hiding services; they operate publicly and constantly change domain names when blocked. Illegal web management units often feature harmful advertisements, betting, and gambling on these pages.
Hải from the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information said they coordinate with the Department of Information Security and copyright owners to detect web violations, verify and investigate infringing content, and send requests to internet service providers to prevent Vietnamese internet users from accessing infringing websites. This means users in Việt Nam using smartphones and computers will not be able to access the infringing website, but people abroad can still access it. The management unit only prevents it within Vietnamese territory.
The process is that after the rights holder submits an application with documents proving rights and evidence of the violation, the state agency will review and decide to prevent it. Next, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will prevent and stop providing DNS services for domain names of pirated websites at the request of state agencies.
Lawyer Thủy said that currently, measures to deal with copyright infringement in the digital environment, specifically technical measures, include creating codes and keys to prevent unauthorised access. For instance, the content will be encrypted using DRM measures. When certain individuals still intentionally violate despite having the key code, there are additional Fingerprint or Watermarking measures. Each customer, when registering a subscription, will have an identification code. If someone live-streams pirated content from their subscription to the network environment, television stations can identify that subscription code and thus “catch” this copyright violator.
Many experts believe that to effectively prevent online copyright infringement, it is necessary to establish a coordination point between rights owners, State management agencies, and internet service providers; set up a flexible blocking mechanism – block and evict new domain names that emerge after blocking; and apply various appropriate technical measures to block access. Concurrently, it is essential to develop automatic blocking tools for all parties to minimise time and human resources.
“Of the total 15.5 million pirated subscribers, as long as piracy is well protected and 10 per cent of them convert into legal subscribers, units will have more funds to reinvest in production or purchase copyrights for better and valuable content. Thereby, it would contribute to the development of the digital content creation industry in Việt Nam,” she added.