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Beijing KTVs face lawsuits for not paying royalty fees
By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-14 07:17

About 100 Beijing KTV operators are expected to face lawsuits in the next few days for non-payment of royalty fees , sources said Monday.

China Audio-Video Copyright Association (CAVCA), entrusted to collect royalties on behalf of domestic singers and composers, will ask the courts to order violators to pay fees for 2007 and this year, mostly for the use of MTV material.

"We will continue to sue violaters until all KTV operators pay their fees according to the law," CAVCA executive vice-president Wang Huapeng told China Daily.

The association has collected enough evidence for the lawsuits, Wang said.

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He said most of the suits were against medium and small KTV establishments.

Last month, the association delivered an ultimatum to 300 Beijing KTV establishments, demanding payment of royalties by October 10.

However, only 30 acknowledged receipt of the ultimatum, the others chose to ignore it.

Most are waiting to see the outcome of the association's court action, Beijing News reported Monday.

According to a notice published by the National Copyright Administration on August 1, KTV royalty fees should be backdated from January 1, 2007.

However, less than 20 KTV establishments among 1,500 in Beijing have paid their fees. In Shanghai, more than 100 KTV establishments among 1,400 have paid their fees.

Fee standards differ in different Chinese cities.

In Beijing, the fee is 11 yuan ($1.6) per room per day. Shanghai is the most expensive - 11.1 yuan, and Guizhou the least expensive - 8 yuan.

"We are preparing to lodge lawsuits nationwide to force all KTV operators to pay, and Beijing is just the start," Wang said,"We hope the suits in Beijing will lead to KTV owners paying their fees voluntarily."

Liu Chuntian, a professor with Renmin University of China, said authorities must enforce better management of KTV establishments to protect infringement of copyrights.

"With more international trade disputes concerning intellectual property and increasing demand for domestic IPR protection, creating a fair commercial competition environment is a tough task for the government," Liu said.