IIPA's report on Vietnam compulsory licenses
by James Packard Love This is from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)'s February 13, 2006 recommendations for the 301 Watch List, on Vietnam.
"Restrictions on IP Rights: Article 7(2) gives the State unchecked power to decide when a right holder may exercise rights and under what circumstances, without taking into account the balance already created through exceptions to protection, e.g., in Article 25. Leaving Article 7(2) intact would create inconsistencies with the Berne Convention, the TRIPS Agreement and the WIPO Treaties, and should pose a major obstacle to Vietnam’s accession to the WTO. The second half of Article 7(3) violates Vietnam’s current and future obligations by permitting the State to restrict the ability of a right holder to exercise lawful rights, and worse yet, could result in an open-ended compulsory licensing to use copyright materials seemingly without limitation or reason. The provision should be deleted. The first clause of Article 8 would also run afoul of Vietnam’s bilateral commitments and would be Berne and TRIPS-incompatible since it establishes impermissible content-based restrictions of protection under copyright. That clause must be deleted.
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"Impermissible Compulsory Licenses: Article 26 enacts into law in Vietnam a broad broadcasters’ compulsory license as to all works except cinematographic works (excluded by the terms of Article 26(3)). Notwithstanding the attempt in Article 26(2) to limit the scope of the compulsory license to the three step test, it is hard to see how the compulsory license in clause 1 would not collide with the three step test in virtually all instances. If this provision applied to performers only, it might be acceptable, but as drafted, it creates a Berne- and TRIPS-incompatible compulsory remuneration scheme. Similarly, the Article 33 compulsory license (which is a last minute addition to this legislation) for use of sound recordings and video recording for commercial “broadcasting” is in violation of international standards; 33(1)(b) allows “[u]sing a published sound/video recording in … business and commercial activities.” Again, the Vietnamese attempt to limit the scope of these compulsory license provisions with the Berne three part test language (Article 33(2)) fails, because this compulsory license, by its very nature, conflicts with a normal exploitation of the sound and video recordings, and unreasonably prejudices the legitimate interests of the right holders involved.
"We note that a new Article 24 was added just prior to passage of the Law, and it is unclear what its scope may be. It provides, “[t]he protection of the copyright to literary, artistic and scientific works referred to in Article 14.1 of this Law shall be specified by the Government.” Article 14.1 enumerates the various subject matter of copyright (not including related rights). This provision could be innocuous; however, to the extent it coincides with Articles 7 and 8 to deny rights to authors or right holders or cede rights, it could be problematic.
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 The Article reads as follows:
Use of published works without obtaining permission but paying royalties, remuneration
- Broadcasting organizations using published works for the purpose of carrying out broadcasting programs with sponsorship, advertisements or collection of money in any form shall not be liable for obtaining permission from, but shall be liable to pay royalties or remunerations to, the copyright owner in accordance with the Government regulations,
- Organizations and individuals when using the works stipulated in paragraph 1 of this Article must not influence the normal exploitation of works and must not prejudice rights of authors or copyright owners, and must provide
- information about the name of the author and origin of the works.
- The use of works referred to in clause 1 of this Article shall not apply to cinematographic works.