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Songwriters say copyright draft doesn't protect

By  Tang Yue  (China Daily)

08:25, April 06, 2012

The newly released draft amendment to the Copyright Law has aroused great controversy among famous local songwriters as it allows sound recordings to be used by others without the owner's permission.

According to the proposal, three months after a recording is released it can be used by non-copyright owners as long as they apply with the State Copyright Bureau, pay remuneration to the owners via the Music Copyright Society of China, and clearly state the copyright owner.

The existing law claims "no such work may be used where the copyright owner declares that use is not permitted".

"Dear musicians, we are done! Who will protect our rights? The draft is really ridiculous," Li Guangping, a renowned songwriter, said on his Sina micro blog.

"I know a lot of songwriters are not members of the copyright society, so it doesn't have the rights to give any permission and receive money for the copyright owners without being authorized," Li said.

Gao Xiaosong, a famous singer-songwriter, also blasted the draft.

"A new song may not be widely known within three months. Allowing it be sung by others in such a short time is de facto encouragement of piracy," Gao said.

"Songwriters will feel very hurt and be less motivated to write songs. This will harm the singers, too," Gao wrote on his Sina micro blog, claiming he would call for a boycott of the draft among musicians at next month's Fengyun Music Awards ceremony, where he chairs the judging penal.

Qin Hua, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property from Beijing-based Jiahe Law Firm, said copyright ownership is a private right and authorities can't give permission to anyone to use it without the nod of the owner.

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