A new study of the online content viewing behavior of Thai consumers revealed that more than half (53 per cent) of online consumers use piracy streaming websites or torrent sites to access premium content.

Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) have unveiled a new website blocking provisions for piracy sites which violate section 20 (3) of the Computer Crimes Act (CCA).

Under the new provisions, ISPs now have 15 days in which to comply with the court orders and blocked sites, which are either redirected or change domain name, can be blocked under the original court order. ISPs which fail to comply with the court order can now be fined under Section 27 of the Computer Crimes Act (CCA).

The survey, commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and conducted by YouGov, also found that 43 per cent of consumers use an illicit streaming device (ISD) to stream pirated television and video content. These TV boxes allow users to access hundreds of pirated television channels and video-on-demand content, usually with a low annual subscription fee.

Of the 53 per cent of consumers who admit to accessing streaming piracy websites or torrent sites, 66 per cent stated that they had cancelled all or some of their subscription to legal pay-TV services.

“The damage to the Thai movie and TV industry caused by online piracy is without dispute,” asserted Piset Chiyasak, Vice President of the Intellectual Property Association of Thailand (IPAT). “However, the damage done to online consumers is only beginning to be understood. Piracy is a hotbed for malware and consumers face real risks of malicious malware infection such as spyware. Consumers who buy ISDs or access piracy streaming websites are also funding crime groups, and wasting their time and money when the channels and websites are blocked and stop working.”

“We applaud the Department of Intellectual Property and Ministry of Digital Economy & Society for introducing the new site blocking provisions, which if applied in a time-effective manner, are an important step in migrating consumers back to reliable and safe legal services,” added Neil Gane, the General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP). “Effective site blocking is a key tool in disrupting the availability of piracy websites and the illicit revenues that are generated by the crime groups who operate these sites. It is hoped that the impact of these new site blocking provisions in Thailand will be similar to what we have seen in Indonesia which witnessed a 68 per cent drop in traffic to piracy sites in less than 12 months.”

As a result of enforcing an effective rolling site blocking system, Indonesia has become market leader in IP protection in South East Asia, boosting growth of legitimate services. Traffic to piracy sites dropped 68 per cent (August 2019 to June 2020) with traffic to legitimate video sites increasing by 18 per cent within the same period.