Author Topic: Girl tricked into making pirate krathong floats, then arrested  (Read 2819 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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The family of the 15-year-old girl who was arrested after being lured by police into making Krathong baskets with copyright-protected cartoon characters talks to a reporter at their house in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima on Monday. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: A 15-year-old girl was arrested and fined after making krathong baskets featuring cartoon characters that were ordered by undercover copyright police.

The girl, who gave her name as "Orm", said that her family was shocked by the police sting operation.

She had intended to produce flower-patterned floats for this weekend's Krathong Festival to raise some money to help with her schooling, and offered the service via Facebook.

She had many customers, and then one customer specifically ordered cartoon characters on the floats. When she delivered them at a local department store last Friday it turned out the order was placed by copyright police, who were waiting for her.

"After receiving the order, I made krathong baskets from 8am to 1.30am the next day so that I could fill the order, only to be arrested," Orm said.

"Normally I do not make any basket with a copyrighted character. This customer stressed they wanted copyrighted characters. After being arrested I cried all night because I have never faced such legal action before.

"I want to know why they had to do this to me," the young teenager said.

Her father, Thawatchai Polhaeng, said the undercover agent ordered 136 krathong baskets with famous cartoon characters and his daughter delivered 30 baskets. The agent frightened his daughter and imposed a fine of 50,000 baht.

Her grandfather was a former policeman and later managed to negotiate the fine down to 5,000 baht, he said.

The chief of Muang Nakhon Ratchasima police station confirmed the incident occurred and that copyright agents and police were involved in the sting operation.

Media reported the girl priced her baskets at 17 baht apiece.

Bangkok Post

That definitely isn't the right way to "protect" copyright holders from losses! Neither is it "educational.

Offline Johnnie F.

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Re: Girl tricked into making pirate krathong floats, then arrested
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 05:30:49 PM »
Copyright Troll Demands 50,000 Baht From 15-Year-Old Cartoon Krathong Maker

NAKHON RATCHASIMA — A local copyright holder of Japanese cartoon character franchise said Tuesday it was not behind an alleged attempt to extort a 15-year-old girl of 50,000 baht for copyright infringement.

T.A.C. Consumer PCL, who holds a copyright for San-X products in Thailand, denies involvement with the sting operation in Korat, in which a man identified himself as a copyright agent and threatened the girl’s family to pay a damage fee of up to 50,000, or face prison terms. The news has sparked widespread anger on social media, where some business owners said they were also victims of a similar scheme.

The girl said the man ordered 136 krathongs, or traditional floats for the upcoming river festival, decorated with cartoon characters from her on Friday. But once the first batch of delivery was made, the customer identified himself as a copyright agent and called the police, according to her father, Thawatchai Polhaeng.

Once she was brought to the police station, Thawatchai said, the self-identified agent demanded a payment of 50,000 baht for copyright infringement or face criminal charges that could land her in jail. He said they eventually settled for a sum of 5,000 baht.

“This isn’t right. Though she might be guilty, but the agent should look at her intentions,” Thawatchai said. “She was just trying to raise some funds for her schooling. The agent should not rip off a kid like this.”

But in a statement today, T.A.C. Consumer PCL said it was not responsible for sending any complaint.

Korat City police chief Col. Kachen Setaputta confirmed police involvement in Friday’s sting operation, but maintained that they were merely following the law.

“The police carried out their duties according to the law. They have to arrest the girl, otherwise they might be guilty of neglecting their duties,” Kachen said.

The girl, who only identified herself to the media as “Orn,” said she intended to sell bread krathongs to help out her family with her tuition fees.

She normally produced flower-patterned krathongs and sold them on Facebook, but the customer who tricked her ordered them to be particularly adorned with copyrighted characters like Angry Birds, Garfield, and Japanese cartoon bear Rilakkuma.

“I didn’t intend to violate copyright law. I was just following the customer’s orders, which I didn’t know was wrong to do,” she said. “They wanted to trick me and extort me for hefty fines. After I went back home, I was crying all night because I never faced any charges like this before.”

But after her plight sparked a fury on social media, several other vendors said they were subject to the same ploy, which experts nicknamed “copyright trolling.”

In the scam, opportunists claiming to represent copyright holders would threaten to bring copyright infringement charges against unsuspecting business owners unless they agree to pay up “settlement fees.”

A popular Facebook page said it has received four accounts of such victims since Orn’s stroke made headlines– all of which occurred in Nakhon Ratchasima. One victim told the page, called Thailand’s Most Wanted, she has to pay 30,000 baht to avoid criminal charges after she made similar krathong with Rilakkuma face.

Legal experts say while these claims would most likely be dismissed by the court – since the complaints were not made by legitimate copyright holders – the vast majority of victims tend to pay up anyway to avoid criminal investigations.

Khaosodenglish

Maybe the copyright holders feel the outcry by less business now, and then do something about those illegitimate extortionists and the cops who went along with that scam!

Offline Johnnie F.

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Two women claim extortion by 'copyright agents'
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 05:38:29 PM »
Two women claim extortion by 'copyright agents'

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Two women have told police they were extorted by the same people who tricked a teenage girl into making krathong floats featuring copyright cartoon characters, and then arrested and fined her.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin has ordered local officials to provide assistance to the schoolgirl fined for copyright violation, and a TV report identified the "agent" who led police to the young girl as a motorcycle taxi driver.

Meena Sapsarp, 25, and Pitchaya Kaesungnoen, 19, on Wednesday filed their extortion allegation with police.

Ms Meena said she was arrested on Oct 31 for making krathong baskets with famous cartoon characters.  She told police the man claiming to be a copyright agent had imposed a fine of 70,000 baht, but she did not have that much money. After negotiations, she paid a fine of 30,000 baht - which she had to borrow from a neighbour.

Ms Pitchaya said she was caught on July 13 in Sung Noen district for selling pirated Yeti coolers. The officers demanded she pay a fine of 30,000 baht. After negotiations, she paid 10,000 baht.

The two women said those who led police to arrest them were the same copyright agents who arrested a 15-year-old girl in Muang district, a case which grabbed news headlines on Tuesday.

The girl, identified only as “Orn’’, was arrested and, after negotiations, fined 5,000 baht for making krathong baskets featuring cartoon characters that were ordered online as part of a police "sting".

She was making and selling flower-pattern floats for this weekend’s Krathong Festival, to raise money to help with her schooling.

The girl's arrest sparked a public outcry.

T.A.C Consumer Plc, the representative of copyright holder San-X of Japan, later issued a statement saying the company had not assigned anyone to the operation that led to the arrest of the girl.

Amarin TV reported that the man who led police to arrest the 15-year-old girl is a  motorcycle taxi driver.

TV reporters went to his house in Nakhon Ratchasima, but he was not there.

Neighbours identified him only as "Nan". They said his wife sells grilled meat balls on sticks.

Bangkok Post

Offline Johnnie F.

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Fined krathong sellers strike back
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 10:19:07 PM »
About 30 sellers were preparing to file extortion charges on Thursday against "copyright agents" who ordered Krathong floats from them, insisting they feature rights-protected cartoon characters, and later demanded large fines.

Krathong makers from several northeastern provinces gathered at Muang Nakhon Ratchasima police station in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima to file their complaints.

They were being assisted by counsel from the Lawyers Council.

Their action followed news reports that two people who claimed to be copyright agents had lured a 15-year-old girl in Nakhon Ratchasima into making floats they insisted must feature copyrighted cartoon characters ahead of the Loy Krathong festival this weekend, ordering them from her online.

The girl was arrested when she delivered the krathongs. The "copyright agents" demanded she pay a fine of 50,000 baht, later negotiated down to 5,000 baht. A representative of the Japanese copyright-holding company later said no such legal action had been ordered or approved.

Lawyer Pornthep Charoenpong-anant said on Thursday the young teen filed her extortion complaint on Wednesday. Other float makers who had evidence to back their claims could file similar complaints with police right away.

By Thursday afternoon, 36 people had filed their complaints, indicating they paid more than 700,000 baht to  the so-called copyright agents, he said.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Weerachai Songmetta said investigation had been launched to find out if any police officers had been involved. If so, they would face serious action, he said.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said on Thursday that his ministry would ask foreign copyright owners if they ever assigned any parties to take action on their behalf in Thailand.

His secretary Thanakrit Jit-areerat said that if the rights owners did not make such assignments, those who demanded fines from the krathong makers would be prosecuted for extortion.

Bangkok Post

Offline Johnnie F.

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More victims join fight against extortion by 'copyright agents'
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 11:20:19 AM »
About 90 people who were earlier fined for violating copyrights for Japanese cartoon characters on Friday sought the Justice Ministry's help to counter-sue the "copyright agents".

Lawyer Worakorn Pongthanakul took 10 of them to submit the requests to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin through Samart Jenchajitwanit, vice minister of justice.

Mr Worakorn said the 90 were among about 300 people in greater Bangkok who had faced demands for payment from people claiming to be agents of Japanese cartoon copyright holders.

"Many of them were arrested in sting operations and were detained and pressured to pay 30,000 to 100,000 baht each. Some of them were ordered to deliver genuine products without packaging and others sold second-hand products featuring Japanese cartoon characters," Mr Worakorn said.

They decided to take action after news reports about the alleged extortion of 15-year-old schoolgirl "Orn"  in Nakhon Ratchasima province by a man and a woman, who later claimed to be copyright agents, who placed orders with her online for krathong floats featuring rights-protected cartoon characters.

"When they learned that legal loopholes had been abused in this case they got together to file legal complaints, because they had faced similar action and the people behind it may be connected," Mr Worakorn said.

Mr Samart, vice minister of justice, said he would forward the matter to the justice minister right away. The ministry had a fund to support people's legal action.

Two of the complainants who arrived with the lawyer said "copyright agents" had demanded 50,000 baht from each of them, but the sum was later negotiated down to 10,000-15,000 baht.

The 15-year-old girl in Nakhon Ratchasima was also fined 50,000 baht, but her relatives later managed to have it reduced to 5,000 baht.

Mr Samart said on Friday that Justice Minister Somsak had ordered provincial justice officials to protect the girl and her family, who had received threats after exposing her case.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta said on Friday that 15-year-old Orn's krathong did not violate any copyright. The copyright agency responsible had confirmed cartoon characters on her  floats did not resemble rights-protected characters.


Even if they had looked alike, the girl would have received two warnings before facing legal action, Pol Gen Wirachai said.

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Offline Johnnie F.

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New system seeks to end agent scam
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2019, 03:15:21 PM »
The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) is to create a QR code system so people can quickly verify the legitimacy of copyright property and copyright agents, according to deputy commerce minister, Weerasak Wangsupakitkosol.

He said the department has been ordered to draft new regulations to make it more convenient and faster for people to check information connected with copyright. This includes details about ownership, licence holders or even the copyright agency authorised to enforce laws in piracy cases.

The move is in response to case last month win which copyright agents in Nakhon Ratchasima tricked a 15-year-old student into making krathong floats featuring copyrighted cartoon characters.

She was then made to pay a 5,000-baht fine for copyright infringement, sparking widespread public anger.

Mr Weerasak said the online verification system should prevent a repeat of this incident.

"Officers can check it to find who is rights holder, and when the rights expires, while those accused of copyright infringement can check it to find details about the copyright agent," he said.

Mr Weerasak said the DIP will work harder to educate the public more about copyright protection, in a bid to reduce infringements.

Bangkok Post

 



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