A group of 30 KTV clubs in Yunnan Province became the first in the country to acquire copyright access licenses from the China Audio and Video Collective Management Association on Sunday after paying royalty fees.
The development marks the latest step in the occasionally contentious effort to impose a royalty regime on the nation's karaoke bars.
KTV operators can secure a copyright access license after paying royalty fees to cover either a half-year or a year's operations. The fees are levied according to a complex formula based on local economic conditions.
The China Audio and Video Collective Management Association has established unified bank account in Beijing into which all fees collected are to be deposited. The agency's local offices issue licenses to club owners within 10 days after the bank confirms the receipt if the deposits.
"(The payments by the Yunnan operators) represent a big step forward for music copyright protection in China," told Wang Huapeng, the association's vice-president yesterday. "This brings us closer to launching a nationwide copyright protection campaign among all karaoke rooms."
More than 40 KTV operators in Yunnan, including the 30 new licensees, have signed up for or paid royalties to the association's Yunnan office, representing contracts worth 3.16 million yuan ($407,000).
Many KTV clubs in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Shaanxi, Shandong and Yunnan provinces have made royalty payments since February.
"Our roughly 20 local offices are not allowed to collect royalties," Wang said. "They are only engaged in negotiating between KTV operators and copyright owners, or in providing legal services to clients when needed."
As a non-profit non-government organization, the China Audio and Video Collective Management Association has the power to levy royalties on behalf of music and video companies according to the copyright law enacted in 1990 and revised in 2001, as well as the Regulations on Copyright Collective Management from March 1, 2005.
(China Daily April 10, 2007)