Photography copyright infringement
rampant in Vietnam
Veteran photographer Hoang Kim Dang claims copyright
infringement is rampant in Vietnam and photographers are suffering as there
seems to be a lack of interest in addressing the problem.
Hoang Kim Dang
Dang claims many of his and other photographers' photos have
been used without credit.
"A painter completely copied my photo of Nguyen Tuan, a
photo of Trinh Cong Son by Truong Cong Anh and a portrait of Nguyen Dinh Thi
taken by Nguyen Dinh Toan. He opened an exhibition yet didn't give us
credit," Dang said.
Dang's photo of General Vo Nguyen Giap at his 80-year-old
birthday is widely used on book covers and postcards. But when he informed
the publishers about the violations, he received no feedback.
"It's rampant but rarely does anyone take their claims to
court. It's maybe a profitable act in other countries but in Vietnam, we'd
end up wasting more money pursuing a case than we'd get from any
payout," Dang said.
Copyright infringement has been a long-standing problem in
Vietnam and the lack of co-operation between organisations and agencies has
not helped improve matters.
In 2012, Tran Manh Thuong's The History of World's Photography
received the National Book Award for best works of photographic research and
criticism by the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists. However, at the
ceremony, the association's former head went on stage and said it was just a
great translation of a foreign book. The investigation went on for a long
time and the prize was only withdrawn officially this year.
"Many members have complained about the problems. The
association didn't really care about the link between the organisers and
judges of the contest. Some of the judges didn't even bother to read up on
the criteria and didn’t make informed decisions," he said. "We’re
so used to infringements that no-one bothers to sue anymore."