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Karaoke -- Not Going for a Song!
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The national Karaoke TV (KTV) chain pushed prices up by 50 percent shortly after the introduction of a music copyright fee.

Xinhua News Agency reported that prices at Party World in Beijing had increased. For example the price of a mid-sized room on a weekend has increased from 235 yuan (US$29) to 330 yuan (US$41). However, a source at Party World denied the charge was related to the new fee saying it was due to service and equipment upgrades.

But a consumer surnamed Xu said he did not feel the club was any different--apart from the prices.

China's KTV clubs will now have to pay music and video copyright owners a fee of 12 yuan (US$1.50) per room per day, the National Copyright Administration (NCA) announced on its website yesterday.

Wang Ziqiang, spokesman for the NCA pointed out that KTV clubs should pay the copyright fees and not consumers. "The previous KTV price should have included the copyright fee and operators should not raise prices for consumers," he said.

Representing copyright owners, the Music Copyright Society of China and the China Audio-Video Collective Management Association submitted the draft of the KTV copyright fee rule to the National Copyright Administration for approval.

KTV clubs are required to pay the fee once a year to cover copyright for music and music videos, sources said. The National Copyright Administration is seeking advice and views from the public until September 20.

Industry insiders said that the price hike at Party World, one of the leading companies in the field, could lead to more KTV clubs raising their prices. But sources with the Shanghai Culture and Entertainment Industry Association said such clubs in the metropolis were not planning increases. .

According to Wang Ziqiang, major KTV clubs in China have paid the Music Copyright Society of China for playing music in the past. Sources with the society said it collected 60 million yuan (US$7.4 million) every year, Xinhua News Agency reported.

An amendment to the Copyright Law in 2001 resulted in music videos also being protected by law.  Many entertainment companies have sued KTV type clubs over video use since then but no judgments have been reached.

(China Daily August 22, 2006)

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