Thursday, October 9, 2008

Association to sue Beijing karaoke bars over copyright

The China Audio-video Copyright Association said on Thursday it would file suit in mid October against Beijing-based bar operators refusing to pay royalties for songs and MTV videos they used.

The association, which is responsible for charging karaoke bars, sent notice to the first batch of about 300 Beijing-based bars in late September. It urged them to pay the royalties before Oct. 10.

It warned of legal action if they failed to meet the deadline, the association said in a statement.

About 100 karaoke bar operators will be named in the suit filed by the association, which vowed to push through the fight until all operators made payment according to the law.

At present, only about 10 operators out of about 1,000 Beijing-based karaoke bars paid royalties for the copyrighted audio-video products they used. The figure stood at about 1,000 nationwide.

Last year, 15 provincial-level areas, including Beijing and Guangdong, agreed to collect karaoke copyright royalties. The practice was spreading nationwide.

Karaoke operators must pay a daily charge of 12 yuan for each karaoke room -- less in underdeveloped regions -- for the use of musical and video products, according to a National Copyright Administration notice issued in November 2006.

Chinese karaoke operators have enjoyed free access to songs and MTV videos without paying royalties for more than 20 years.

The country has an estimated 100,000 karaoke establishments -- each with an average of 10 rooms -- collectively generating almost1 billion yuan in turnover annually.

The association hoped Beijing could set a model for the rest of country in royalty payments and it didn't rule out the possibility for legal actions against karaoke bar operators outside of the capital.

Source: Xinhua

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