A south China court has ordered a karaoke company to pay damages of 30,000 yuan (4,286 U.S. dollars) in what is reported to be the country's first karaoke copyright infringement case.
Haoledi Entertainment Company, the karaoke bar management firm, was also ordered to delete three music videos from its database after being sued by Beijing-based New Run Entertainment Company.
New Run, a performance management and audio-visual production firm, filed the suit at the people's court in the Chancheng district of Guangdong Province's Foshan city in April.
A member of the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC), New Run produced Chinese singer Pang Long's EP album in 2007. The album featured 23 videos in a bonus DVD, including the three involved in the case.
The case, according to the Legal Daily, is the first karaoke copyright infringement case brought to court in China.
A Beijing-based notarial organization had recorded the whole process of ordering the programs as evidence for New Run's case.
The illegally-used songs were "You are My Rose", "Two Butterflies" and "Hometown in Northeast China", all written and performed by Pang Long.
Haoledi argued that New Run had failed to notify it in advance of how and whom to pay for the programs.
However, the court ruled that Haoledi had a legal duty to ensure payment and its failure to meet its obligation was unreasonable.
The Guangdong-based Yangcheng Evening News reported that the MCSC and the China Audio and Video Association (CAVA) had also filed suits against three karaoke bars for illegally using "Qian Gui", karaoke company Cashbox PartyWorld's Chinese title.
Last year, 15 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing and Guangdong, agreed to collect karaoke copyright royalties. The practice was spreading nationwide, according to the CAVA and MCSC.
Karaoke operators must pay a daily charge of 12 yuan (1.70 U.S. dollars) for each karaoke room -- less in underdeveloped regions -- for the use of musical and video products, according to a National Copyright Administration notice issued in November 2006.
China has an estimated 100,000 karaoke establishments -- each with an average of 10 private rooms -- generating almost 1 billion yuan in turnover annually.