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Grammy supports piracy crackdown [Bangkok Post, Thailand]
[June 01, 2009]

Grammy supports piracy crackdown [Bangkok Post, Thailand]

(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jun. 1--GMM Grammy Plc has urged the government to put more emphasis on cracking down on copyright infringement as the illegal business has caused a 20 percent drop in its business.

Krij Thomas, chief operating officer for the music business, said the economic downturn this year would cause difficulties as consumers were more likely to switch to pirated CDs due to lower prices.

"Though we have cut our prices, they are still higher than illegal items because we have higher costs on raw materials, copyrights, artist fees and advertising. No matter how much we reduce, we cannot compete with pirates on price," he said.

Public awareness about using legitimate products is still low in Thailand compared to other countries.

For example, when police cracked down on pirated goods at Patpong, many thought it was the fault of the officers despite the fact they were selling something illegal.Vendors selling legitimate CDs have shrank to 2,000 from 10,000 outlets the past decade.

To adapt, Grammy altered its business direction toward the digital market by providing unlimited downloads of songs to mobile phone subscribers for 20 baht a month. It now has around 1.2 million customers.

The company's executives met Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot yesterday to discuss the issue of intellectual property rights.

Mr Alongkorn said the government was open to establishing a copyright fee collection organisation as it would act only as a regulator to issue the licences while allowing the private sector to freely negotiate the fees.

The ministry plans to organise roadshows for the entertainment business in Asean countries in order to expand the market for Thai performers and artists.

It is also in the final stages of discussions with the Motion Picture Association of America to support Thai actor Tony Ja to work in Hollywood.

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