Attitudes toward Piracy and Counterfeiting Among Foreign Consumers in ThaiMarkets
Adam Richard Tanielian
A survey helps answer questions about opinions among consumers regardingintellectual property rights and infringement. 196 foreign participants were recruited in Thaiphysical markets where counterfeit and pirated goods were sold nearby. Results showed thatparticipants most often felt there was a high-medium infringement problem in both Thailandand ASEAN. Opinions also indicated high-medium levels of appeal to foreign tourists,purchases by foreign tourists, and losses to companies. Economic and public threat levelswere evaluated as medium to low, and quality of infringing goods was considered low. Pricewas the dominant motivator of purchase of infringing goods. Differences betweendemographic groups were found using ANOVA. Pearson correlations and other statisticswere calculated. A review of literature, legal framework, and statistics accompaniespresentation of data. Better enforcement and broader public awareness campaigns arerecommended.
Commercial intellectual property (IP) infringement poses problems for proprietors,investors, businesses and states. Piracy (unauthorized reproduction, distribution and sales of copyrighted material) and counterfeiting (unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution andsales of trademarks) are considered criminal offenses in every World Trade Organization(WTO) member nation. However, theory and practice on this issue are divergent. Lax lawenforcement regimes and a so-
called “development agenda” (Helfer, 2009) contribute to
widespread ignorance of commercial infringement.The importance of IP rights (IPR) is well-known among nations. World EconomicForum (WEF, 2010-2011) concluded that IPR protection is a fundamental concern ininvestment decisions leading to R&D spending and innovation. Nations with strong IPRs seecomparative and competitive advantages in high-tech and cutting edge products andprocesses, in academic and research institutions, in technical literature, and in creative arts.WEF listed IP protection in the 1st pillar (institutions) and 12th pillar (innovation) in itsannual Global Competitiveness Report. Competitiveness rankings of nations closely followthe level of IPR protection in the nation. For example, Singapore is consistently among themost competitive nations in the world due in large part to its focus on innovation and thusIPR protection.
In contrast, Thailand’s falling competitiveness ranking co
uld be partially dueto its tolerance of widespread commercial IPR infringement.