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KTV Clubs to Pay Copyright Fees
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KTV clubs in China will pay a maximum of 1 percent of their total income in the near future to the copyright owners of the music videos they utilize. A senior official with the National Copyright Administration explained this at a press conference yesterday. 

The charge was initially fixed at 0.5 percent of the yearly incomes of KTV clubs and still required approval from the administration, spokesman Wang Ziqiang explained. 

Supervised by the administration, the Music Copyright Society of China and the China Audio-Video Collective Management Association, representing the music and music video copyright owners, will collect the fees.

"A public hearing is not necessary for the copyright fee as it's not collected by government but by copyright owners," said Wang, director of the administration's copyright department.

The administration and the two copyright associations will continue to hear views from the music video copyright owners, KTV club operators and the public before fixing the final standard, according to Wang.

"The current standard was a maximum figure for copyright fee collection," Wang said. "Detailed regulations will be drafted in the future." 

It's expected that KTV clubs -- there are more than 100,000 of them on the Chinese mainland -- in developed and developing regions will have different fee-collection standards. The administration urged club operators not to increase prices after paying fees to music and music video copyright owners.

"Consumers should not pay more after the copyright fee is collected," Wang said. He expressed his hopes that responsible government departments such as the price supervision authorities would pay close attention to the prices of KTV clubs after the copyright fees are in place. 

If the KTV clubs refuse to pay, the music and music video copyright owners and the two associations representing them would sue the clubs, Wang said.

Early this year the Music Copyright Society of China filed suit against a KTV club in south China's Shenzhen after they'd used 20 musical works to earn money but refused to pay copyright fees.

The society is seeking a compensation of 200,000 yuan (US$25,000). No judgment has yet been made. 

Last year, two intermediate people's courts in Shanghai ruled that three well-known KTV clubs had to pay copyright fees of 1,000 yuan (US$120) per music video.

The China Audio & Video Association began to collect copyright fees for the music used in KTV clubs.

(China Daily July 28, 2006)

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