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Two karaoke bars told to stop copyright infringement
Updated: 2008-04-08 10:14

The copyright administration in southwest China's Yunnan Province told two karaoke bars on April 7 to stop copyright infringement on a number of songs in their respective databases or face severe punishment.

It was the first time for a local copyright administration to take such actions against copyright infringement at karaoke bars, which observers said would set a precedent for other provinces.

The Yunnan Provincial Copyright Administration sent two advance notices on administrative punishment to the two bars, namely Kunming Haoledi and Shanshijiudu, ordering them to delete related songs from their databases or face "severe punishment" of deleting the entire catalogue.

The administration investigated the bars after receiving complaints from the China Audio and Video Association (CAVA) and Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC) on January 25.

Zhang Yanhui, a spokesman for both CAVA and MCSC in Yunnan, said the organizations had evidence that Haoledi bars in other cities were also using illegally music and music videos. They planned to take further measures against the chain of bars.

Through 2007, 15 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Guangdong and Jiangsu, had agreed to collect karaoke copyright royalties. The practice was spreading nationwide, according to the CAVA and MCSC.

Nearly half of Yunnan's more than 200 karaoke bars have paid copyright royalties to date.

Karaoke operators must pay a daily charge of 12 yuan ($1.70) for each karaoke room -- less in the underdeveloped regions -- for the use of musical and video products, according to a National Copyright Administration notice from November 2006.

It is estimated that China's nearly 100,000 karaoke establishments -- each with an average of 10 private rooms -- generated almost one billion yuan in turnover annually.

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