A New Law on Movies and Video Games

A draft Movies and Games Act. B.E…. (the “Bill “) has been announced via the website of the Department of Cultural Promotion under the Ministry of Culture of Thailand for public hearing from 20 April 2023 to 24 May 2023 which mainly focuses on the sale of movies and games since the Bill requires game developers or media producers in Thailand to apply for a content rating and to pay government fees regardless of whether the content is distributed in Thailand or foreign countries. Failure to comply may result in a fine ranging from 10,000 to 500,000 Thai Baht.

Significant matters of the Bill are summarized as set forth below.

1.         Given the definition of “Games” which refer to continuously moving images, whether with or without sound, which are presented to a person to participate in playing via technology which is used to analyze and process information. As a result, the given definition of games under the Bill  will be broaden than the current act, the Film and Video Act B.E. 2551 (A.D. 2008).

2.         Appointment of National Committee for the Promotion of the Movie and Game Industries, and Rating Committee

3.         Implementation of game “rating system”

4.         Implementation of a “private evaluator” system

5.         Permission to sell games outside of Thailand

Following its publication for public hearing, the Bill has received comments from representatives of the gaming and film sectors. Many of the comments are skeptical of the obligation to acquire authorization to export or sell, as well as the criteria for inspecting game content and the given definition of movie whether it covers content producers on online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Tiktok. Given this criticism, it is reasonable to predict that the Bill will require more revisions to represent the industry’s viewpoint.