1. Offence related to file copying

ETDA's Draft CCA as of 2013: Imprisonment terms imposed on file copying and possession of child pornography

เมื่อ 9 พ.ค. 2556

1. Offence related to file copying

                       2007 CCA                      

     Draft CCA as of April 2013    

- None -

Article ... Whoever copies or commits a similar act to computer data belonging to other person in order to obtain a copy of the computer data in a manner which may cause damage to others or public in general, shall be subjected to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine of not exceeding twenty thousand baht, or both.

It is quite significant that in this draft law, “copying” computer data is defined as an offence. The drafting committee claims that the Article is included to prevent data thief since there have been previous verdicts by the Court that computer file copying was not considered an act of thief, since no assets were lost.

Though the drafting committee explained that the provision aims to provide protection to computer data currently not covered by IP law, but one concern is its use can be redundant considering that there exists the copy rights law. Regarding this point, the drafting committee explained that when more than one law can be enforced on the same offence, the principle of “divisible offence” shall be applied. In other word, if found guilty, the offender shall be levied with the highest penalty of one of the applicable laws. Therefore, in this draft law, it is possible that a similar penalty to the copy rights law shall be used.  

Based on the explanation, it is clear that though it is not intentional by the drafters to apply the CCA provision in IP cases, but there is a possibility that the provision can be used vis-à-vis the copy rights law. By including the provision in the draft CCA, it is tantamount to treating copying as a computer related crime and it implies that the law can be applied draconically to hold any consumer accountable for file copying offences, even though copy rights law exclusively intends to deal with an act of copying to make profits.