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Fight over KTV Fees Continues
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The standoff over KTV copyright fees shows no sign of abating, with club and copyright owners at loggerheads over fees.

A month ago, the National Copyright Administration published a draft standard of 12 yuan (US$1.5) per KTV room per day. And on Wednesday the department finished soliciting opinions from the public.

During a symposium yesterday, copyright owners of songs and music videos said the draft standard was in fact still low, but they were prepared to accept it as in the past they received little or no payment.

But KTV bosses and their associations said the fee was too high, and 1 yuan (12 US cents) per room per day was more appropriate.

Wang Ziqiang, the copyright department director and spokesman for the administration, said the disagreement over the fee would not stand in the way of the legislation.

However, he did not say when the legislation would be finalized and come into effect.

Representing musicians and record companies, the Music Copyright Society of China began to collect fees from some KTV clubs in the country in 2001.

In the same year, a revision to the Copyright Law made music videos protected by law as well.

Authorized by the National Copyright Administration, the China Audio-Video Collective Management Association and the society together planned to collect fees for songs and videos used in KTV clubs.

The society and the association then submitted the draft standard, 12 yuan (US$1.5) per KTV room per day, to the National Copyright Administration for approval.

Xu Shuping, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Culture and Entertainment Trade Association, insisted that only 1 yuan (12 US cents) was acceptable.

"KTV clubs in Shanghai will submit 7.3 million yuan (US$900,000) per year even if every room paid 1 yuan (12 US cents) per day. That's a lot of money," she said.

Wang Zhengheng, vice-chairman of the Beijing Xicheng District Cultural Industry Association, expressed doubt about where the fees collected at the moment are going.

This came after musician Gu Jianfen complained during the discussion that even though everyone seemed to know her songs, she received little payment and had no idea where they were being used.

Representatives from western regions such as Xinjiang and Guizhou argued that the fee should be lower in West China as it was less developed than the east.

"It costs entertainment companies 500,000 yuan (US$62,000) to 1 million yuan (US123,000) to make a music video," said Wang Huapeng, chief of the preparation team for the China Audio-Video Collective Management Association.

The copyright fee in KTV clubs in places like Japan and South Korea is much higher than the suggested fee in China, sources said.

(China Daily September 22, 2006)

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