Novelist Condemns the Theft of her Work, Calls for Stronger Protections

Kim Dina is a Cambodian novelist. Photo provided.

After finding her own work being read aloud on YouTube, Kim Dina speaks out against Cambodia’s long history of stealing original works—particularly books.

PHNOM PENH--Aggrieved by the continuous piracy of their work, one writer is speaking out about Cambodia’s lack of intellectual property protection as the theft of work appears to be on the rise.

Kim Dina, a novelist whose works have been posted on YouTube without her permission, said that taking author’s work for profit without their permission is unscrupulous she called upon the authorities to address the issue.

Launching her writing career in 2017, Kim Dina has released four novels all registered of intellectual property.

But since then, people have been reading her books on YouTube, making money from her hard work.

“Some people read the books and ask for sponsors by putting ABA account numbers in the videos so that they can continue read more books. This action is like farming on the author’s back and has happened for a long time,” Dina said, “But I never reacted to it, so it still continues until now. It’s probably because of no-one has been convicted, so no-one seems to be afraid.”

However, before taking legal action, Dina chooses to negotiate with other parties to stop their actions.

“After I contacted the people who read and posted my novels on YouTube, they agreed to delete all the videos,” Dina said. “Surprisingly, they also removed the videos of other authors’ works. I commend them for their understanding. However, if I still see this issue, I will sue them as a warning.”

Now, Dina is studying intellectual property law as well as related laws to be prepared in advance for the next time her work is stolen and advised other published authors to do the same.

“Some people say that they read to promote the books, so it’s not wrong. However, they don’t read to help promote, instead they read the whole story. I can’t accept it,” Dina said.

“People don’t even know that what they are doing is against the law. Moreover, some authors and I also overlook the intellectual property law, so I’m studying it now.”

Dina said that the government has a role to play in promoting and raising awareness of Cambodia’s intellectual property rights, as this would stop people using ignorance as an excuse.

“Do not be silent about the theft of original works! Why should I consider stealing is normal? If it still continues, we are telling the next generation that stealing is legal,” Dina said. “If so, creating new novels is meaningless. Therefore, I must do something to stop these unethical behaviors.”

However, Dina says that her voice alone does not have a huge influence in society, adding that the involvement of relevant ministries as well as other authors is essential to drive change.

But Dina is not alone in calling for a change to the attitude towards pirated books, as the Southeast Asia Globe highlighted—there is a growing call, from authors and publishers, for people to respect the work that goes into creating books.

“I will have to rely on the Ministry of Culture and other relevant ministries because my voice is feeble. I can’t tolerate this anymore. If all authors join hands, the ministries will notice the issue. I shed tears when my works and others’ works are stolen,” she said.

The law on Copyrights and relevant rights was promulgated on May 5, 2003.

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has also urged the public to stop violating the intellectual property law and relevant rights, otherwise the ministry will take legal action. However, the issues still remain.

Additional reporting by Teng Yalirozy

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