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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Careful handling of disputed copyright amendment promised

(Xinhua)

08:51, April 25, 2012

BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese copyright official has promised to conduct careful research into amending the country's copyright law, after a draft amendment stirred anger from domestic music authors.

The under-fire draft provision concerns a system of copyright statutory licenses, which aims to regulate copyright holders' rights to facilitate the proper spreading of copyrighted works, Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration, said at a press conference Tuesday.

"We take this provision very seriously, and will seek a solution that can best balance various rights and claims," Yan added.

Chinese composers and song writers are enraged over the draft, which was published last month for public comments, as they believe it will diminish their professional rights if passed.

Article 46 of the draft stipulates that sound recording producers may use a music work from another recorded product, providing it has already been published for more than three months, in their own records without having to obtain consent from the music copyright holder, as long as they report to relevant government authorities and pay fair compensation.

The current law provides that the right holders may ban such use by explicit statement. However, such provision was removed in the draft amendment. Music authors are worried the change will permit use of their work against their will, which may impair song writers' enthusiasm hence undermining China's music industry.

Another concern Chinese musicians have about the draft is the overreaching of the country's copyright collective management organizations.

The draft provided that certain copyright collective management organizations may apply to represent all copyright holders nationwide unless specific right holders voice their objections.

However, the music writers fear they would be put at the mercy of such organizations if the bodies are granted monopoly advantages.

"The copyright collective management system, though not very familiar to Chinese people, has been in existence for over 100 years in the world and has proven necessary," Yan said.

The difficulty in China is how to make best use of the system, he added.

"For example, the Music Copyright Society of China currently has a membership of over 5,000 music and lyrics writers, and the problem is whether it is entitled to represent other musicians," according to the official.

Yan said some collective management organizations are also reluctant to reach for too many members to represent.

Also, the authorities will welcome and keep open-minded to all kinds of opinions about the law amendment, he promised.

The public is invited to give feedback on the draft before April 30 via fax, Email or letters.

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