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Vietnam state TV dodges copyright dispute

Monday, March 07, 2016, 14:02 GMT+7

A drone camera lover in central Vietnam had expected to settle a copyright dispute with Vietnam’s state television in a meeting slated for Sunday, but the national broadcaster's representative did not show up.

Bui Minh Tuan had carefully prepared for the meeting with Vietnam Television (VTV) at his home in Quang Tri Province after the Hanoi-based broadcaster used a number of his drone videos without permission.

But no VTV representative came to the scheduled 8:00 am meeting, and state television did not say anything about its one-sided cancelation until later the same day, when it said in a press release that it was no longer necessary to meet Tuan.

Tuan is the drone camera enthusiast who has filmed numerous aerial videos capturing Vietnam’s beautiful landscapes, some of which have been used in various VTV programs without his consent.

Despite a number of complaints filed to VTV, Tuan has failed to stop the broadcaster from stealing his footage.

He later decided to let YouTube know of the copyright infringement by VTV, and the world’s largest video-sharing network eventually terminated the VTV channel on its platform on February 28.

Upon the termination, VTV agreed to meet with Tuan to settle the dispute, with the drone video maker asserting that he only needs an official apology from the state TV.

Tuan turned his living room into a media studio, with nine cameras set up to live-stream the meeting on his YouTube channel. He also put three large screens outside the house to broadcast the meeting to anyone interested.

Some 100 people from neighboring provinces came to his house to witness the showdown, and more than 1,500 people were waiting for the live-streaming video on Tuan’s YouTube channel.

“I wanted to broadcast the meeting live to openly prove that I did not ask for anything other than an apology from VTV,” Tuan said.

“I need VTV to apologize because I want them to know that in this time of global integration, copyright issues should not be neglected and as a state entity it should set the example for other firms to follow.”

VTV says disrespected

The state TV station remained silent until late Sunday, when it released an announcement to say it had canceled the meeting because of the "disrespectful behavior" of Tuan.

VTV said it had notified Tuan of the cancelation via email, adding that the meeting was “no longer necessary.”

The national broadcaster complained that Tuan had let the media know of the meeting without discussing with VTV first, adding that it was not happy when the drone camera lover claimed that he would terminate the meeting “if VTV brings money to compensate me or have any negative motives.”

“A meeting where both parties directly exchange ideas and politely listen to each other is much better than an apology,” VTV said in the statement.

“Such a meeting should not be a place to display mistrust or disrespect.”

VTV concluded that the planned meeting was “improper,” so it will therefore respond to Tuan via documents instead of face to face.

“In the document, VTV will list programs that have breached the copyright of Tuan and apologize to him,” the state broadcaster said.

VTV also said Tuan had deliberately put pressure on them by not letting the media know that the meeting had been canceled even though he had been notified by the broadcaster.

Tuan, who runs a verified YouTube channel named Yamaha Trung Ta, has garnered wide support in his fight for copyright protection with VTV.

However he has also been criticized for trying to earn fame and money by deliberately targeting a high-profile entity like the state broadcaster.

A woman, who claimed to be the producer of a VTV program that used Tuan’s videos without his permission, wrote on Facebook on Saturday that Tuan “would not have been so famous if he had fought an individual or a smaller organization than VTV.”

The post received so many negative comments that it was deleted soon after.

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