The Chinese government is working on specific regulations for collecting royalties from television, radio stations for using music works, a senior official said in Beijing over the week.
However, it has not been decided when the regulations will be publicized, Liu Binjie, director of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the National Copyright Administration (NCA), was quoted as saying.
The Chinese government's efforts in combating piracy and protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) have resulted in more shops and restaurants signing up to pay royalties on the ubiquitous background music that had long been used for free.
Background music played at department stores or hotels -- also called "muzak"-- received legal protection in China in 2001 under revisions to the Copyright Law. The law states that both live and mechanical performances enjoy the same rights.
Up to now, most big hotels, department stores and supermarkets in Beijing and Shanghai have paid fees to the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC) for using the songs under their administration, according to sources.
And Karaoke bars in China's main cities were made to pay 12 yuan (US$1.50) a day in royalties to music artists for each room, according to a regulation set by China's National Copyright Administration late last year.
However, most television and radio stations in China are still using music works without paying any royalties.
The Music Copyright Society of China is now negotiating with television and radio stations on copyright fee payments, China Press and Publishing Journal reported.
The Music Copyright Society of China is the country's only officially recognized organization for music copyright administration.
The association has now administered copyrights for over 14 million music works by 4,000 members.
Public venues including hotels, restaurants and department stores are charged with different standards by the society. The usual fee is 2.54 yuan (US$33.9) per square meter per year for a department store of 10,000 to 20,000 square meters to use the music, the society said.