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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Music royalty collection - the sound of the Blues

Thanh Nien (Youth) Newspaper in Vietnam reports in the government’s attempts to collect copyright royalties for musical performances at bars, clubs and restaurants.

The Vietnam Centre for Protection of Music Copyright (VCPMC) collected USD1.5 million in 2010 a massive 40% jump on 2009.  But still VCPMC complains of having a long and lonely road to travel citing lack of awareness, refusals to pay and allegations of unfairness in the calculation methods. Currently even  in and around Saigon, the country's biggest city, some 85 notices have recently been ignored, including by some well known bars, restaurants, shopping plazas and hotels. The Sofitel is even among them!

In the Philippines FILSCAP (Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, see http://www.filscap.com.ph/) are pretty successful at royalty collection. They have even sued television networks in the past for allegedly unauthorized use of their members’ works.

But elsewhere in South East Asia copyright royalty collection is problematic. There are several collecting societies in Indonesia . The oldest and biggest is Karya Cipta Indonesia (KCI). KCI developed out of the Indonesian Recording Music Arrangers and Composers Association (PAPPRI), which set up a collecting society in 1987. KCI asserts rights for public performances and broadcasts, mechanical reproduction by record companies, synchronization rights and printing of musical works. But there are competing collecting societies in Indonesia including WAMI which represents musical publishers and ASIRI, the local recording industry association. The status of collecting societies is actually unclear under the Indonesian Copyright Law, so there have been disputes.  ASIRI represents the recording industry and so claims certain copyright royalties are its, not KCI's to collect, given KCI represents songwriters. This erupted into a public dispute 5 years ago. But until the government amends the copyright law, uncertainty will reign.

In Thailand there is no central body responsible for collection of copyright royalties. A draft law on organization on copyright royalties collection has been drafted but not implemented. So a large number of private companies or organizations collect the royalties for their own catalogues, at last count there were 28 different ones! 

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