Chhimi Dema  

Thimphu Dzongkhag Court’s civil bench endorsed the out-of-court negotiated agreement between Samuh Mediatech and its three copyright content violators yesterday.

According to the agreement, the three violators together have to pay a total of Nu 0.59 million (M) to Samuh for damages for the prejudices suffered and expenses caused by the infringement, including legal costs.

The Copyright Act 2001 protects the rights of literary and artistic works that include writings, oral works, stage productions, and audiovisual works, among others.

The three men shared Samuh, the over-the-top platform’s (OTTP), media content through their social media accounts.

Samuh saw its first copyright violation in June of last year when a Bhutanese YouTube channel owner uploaded their film Pot of Gold on YouTube.

The second violation was recorded in November of last year. A monk and a businessman shared Samuh content on their Facebook page and via a USB flash drive.

The films circulated were Pot of Gold, Chasing Stars, and My Root Teacher.

According to the court’s judgment, Tashi Dorji and Kinley Rinchen’s circulation of the My Root Teacher caused Samuh financial losses of Nu 1.4M. Uploading the film Pot of Gold on Sonam Pezang’s YouTube channel caused Samuh to incur a loss of Nu 1.5M.

The three violators confessed that they were not aware of the copyright violation laws and agreed to sensitise the public about intellectual property rights and promote the OTTP on their social media accounts.

Since Sonam Pezang’s reach of the copyright content was higher than the two violators through YouTube, he has to pay a compensation of Nu 0.39M; Tashi Dorji and Kinley Rinchen have to pay Nu 0.1M each.

The payment has to be made in two installments this year.

The court endorsed the agreement drawn up mutually between the parties based on section 168 of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act.  The section states that the parties may pursue negotiation and the court proceedings shall adjourn upon request of the parties.

The court passed the judgment yesterday.