Even though it has been two years since Vietnam joined the Bern Convention on protecting copyrights, violations in this field are still prevalent in Vietnam, especially in book publishing.
Books published without copyrights
The Youth Publishing House purchased the copyrights of the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T.Kiyosaki. It got the sole rights to publish the book in Vietnam. However, numerous publishing houses within the country have violated the law by publishing the book without copyrights, which, as a result, has caused the Youth Publishing House great losses.
The book has 12 volumes and is a bestseller. When illegally publishing the book, many Vietnamese publishers have changed the name of the book. However the content is still the same. These publishers include Ho Chi Minh City’s General Publishing House, Culture and Information Publishing House, Statistics Publishing House.
In the case of the Ho Chi Minh City Publishing House, the even got licenced to publish the book by a relevant government body.
According to the Youth Publisher, many other books they have paid to get copyrights have also been published by other publishers. Another example is the books by renowned Vietnamese author Son Nam.
Being fired up about the violations, Youth Publishers sent dispatches to warn these violators about their infringement as well as complained to the Ministry of Culture and Information. To date, only the Ho Chi Minh General Publisher has admitted its violation.
Furthermore, since getting the warnings by the copyrights holder, many have still continued to publish the books.
The Culture and Information Publishing House has denied its violation by saying that it bought the copyrights from a Chinese partner and the Vietnamese version it published was originally translated.
Measures to stop this publisher from infringing seemed to reach an impasse and the violation was very likely to sink into oblivion if Youth Publishing House had not participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair held recently. At the fair it had a meeting with its international partner and found out that copyrights for the book Rich Dad and Poor Dad had never been sold to be published in Chinese.
Fighting copyright violations
The international partner of Youth Publisher had scheduled for the author of the book to visit Vietnam in December. They therefore said that they would have appropriate actions to resist the violation of the book’s copyrights in Vietnam. According to the director of Youth Publisher, Ms Quach Thu Nguyet, the publisher is waiting for a dispatch from their international partner to confirm that there is no “authorised Chinese publisher”. The document may be used as a proof to ask relevant government bodies to retrieve the unauthorised books that have been published.
Several victims of copyrights violations said it is very common that the publishers, which have copyrights, often have to ask violators to pay a “symbolic amount of money”. However this for many times is not easy to get as violators constantly ignore the “good will” requests.
For this case, Youth Publisher has only put on the hope that government agencies will not licence other publishers to continue publishing the book. Retrieving numerous copies which have been distributed on the market seems to be too impracticable.
Ms Nguyet recalled, “One year ago at a conference to review the implementation of the Bern Convention, I voiced up on the prevalence of copyright violations. Now, it has been two years, but the situation has not been improved.”