CHINA / National

KTV clubs hit with fee to protect copyright
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-22 10:24

KTV clubs in China are to be charged fees for using MTV products, according to the National Copyright Administration.

The China Audio-Video Collective Management Association has been given the green light from the administration to charge the fees, said Ma Jichao, a spokesman with the association, on Friday.

Details of the fees would be announced soon on the association's website, he said, adding that the fee would be collected annually based on the size of the club.

Licences would be issued to the clubs by the association after fees are paid, giving them the right to use the music products legally.

Ma's association would pass on the fees to copyright owners, less its daily expenses.

"Fee collection will raise awareness of intellectual property rights and protect the interests of music copyright owners," Ma said, adding that those who refuse to pay could face litigation.

The association was established last December together with the China Music Copyright Association, which will charge fees on music performed on stage.

According to the China Copyright Collective Management Regulation that came into effect on March 1 last year, the two associations are authorized by copyright owners and approved by the National Copyright Administration as legal organizations to protect copyright.

Song, manager of the Aorui (CN) KTV System Integration Company, said he hoped the fees would not be too high, the Beijing Times reported.

Song was worried KTV operators might shift part of the cost onto consumers, making singing in KTV bars a costly form of entertainment.

But Ma said the fees would be charged based on the affordability of customers in different areas.

Karaoke has been one of the most popular forms of entertainment in China in the past two decades, and the country has about 100,000 KTV clubs.

But in recent years, frequent lawsuits against KTV clubs over copyright violations have drawn public attention.

The collection of copyright fees is regarded by many as a solution to the problem.

In another development, the Ministry of Public Security issued a warrant on Thursday for two suspects allegedly involved in the production of pirated VCD/DVD discs.

The ministry offered a reward of 10,000 yuan (US$1,240) for information leading to the arrest of either of the suspects, both Tianjin residents.