Friday, September 15, 2017

Copyright royalty collections in Vietnam

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Collection of copyright royalties for music paid in public is a complex business. There are multiple rights involved and multiple copyright owners. In SE Asian countries a number of disputes have played out as copyright owners, royalty organisations and businesses utilising music work out who should pay what, to whom and why. 

In Vietnam a backlash put on hold attempts by the Vietnam Center for Protection of Music Copyright (VCPMC) to collect its royalties. VCPMC is a non-profit collective copyright management association. It represents 4,000 songwriters and copyright holders of Vietnamese music, and through its international associations another 4 million overseas authors and composers. 

The issue began in May when the VCPMC began demanding royalties from smaller hotels in central Vietnam. Hotels claimed they were unaware of these fees. Many refused claiming there was no music in many of them. One important issue was music being played on TVs in hotel rooms. However VCPMC had been charging 4 and 5-star hotels in major cities music licensing fees for many years. They also ran events to inform hotel owners of copyright rules. 

So due to the backlash in May, the Copyright Office of Vietnam instructed the VCPMC to temporarily halt collections. It began to mediate and devise a clearer plan for music royalty collection. The Ministry of Culture this week announced the resumption of collections. So the VCPMC will be charging all hotels VND25,000 ($1.1) per year for each room equipped with a TV. 80% of royalties  go to copyright holders and the remainder funds the VCPMC. 
Now for the hard part. The VCPMC expects hotels to collect lists of songs played and submit them so that payment can be calculated. How they will do this and which songs it applies to they have not explained. Perhaps a flat fee may have been easier.

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