In this short article, we are discussing a recent movement in terms of the Vietnam's draft IP Law concerning copyright protection on the Internet. This will materially impact on social media companies and intermediary service providers in cyberspace.  

By and large, the Vietnam's draft IP Law introduces a new article regulating rights and obligations of the intermediary service providers in cyberspace. Most notably, apart from content similar to what has been addressed under Joint Circular No. 07, it now contemplates as follows:

Art. 198b.5(h) - Enterprises providing intermediary services directly create the environment, tools for posting, sharing, and providing content to users (online social networking services, information websites, platforms, etc.) will have the following additional obligations:

  • Building tools to review and monitor content that is posted and shared on their platform and remove content that infringes copyright and related rights;
  • Requesting service users to undertake to fulfill their responsibility of ensuring the lawful use of digital information posted and shared on the Internet and telecommunications network;
  • Warning of liability for compensation for civil damages, possibility of being administratively sanctioned, of criminal prosecution against organizations and individuals using online social networks to infringe copyright and related rights; and
  • Being jointly responsible for the infringement of copyrights and related rights if the infringing information is not removed or handled after being requested in writing by a competent agency.

The above requirements could force the relevant stakeholders to implement tools (i.e., filters) to check every piece of content uploaded to the site against a database of known copyrighted works. If the upload matches a piece of content in the database, it must be blocked. 

To comply with these requirements, social media companies may need to develop their own policies and algorithms for proactively performing the requisite content filtering, for determining when content infringes copyright and related rights.

While the above movement may be subject to further changes/amendments, the potential impact is real for social media companies and intermediary service providers in cyberspace