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Musicians sound off at copyright changes

By Tang Yue (China Daily)

09:01, April 26, 2012

Pirated and illegal publications and audio-visual products are destroyed in Lhasa, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, on Tuesday. Regional authorities destroyed more than 230,000 such products on the day. (China News Service/Li Lin)

Authorities hit all the wrong notes with musicians over proposed changes to the Copyright Law at a media seminar on Wednesday.

The draft amendment to the law, released on March 31 by the National Copyright Administration, allows sound recordings to be used by the non-copyright owners three months after the works are released. The current regulation, which states "no such work may be used where the copyright owner declares that use is not permitted", has been deleted.

The draft has come under fire from many famous songwriters and singers, who say the proposed amendment fails to protect their rights and gives too much power to collective management organizations.

While the administration solicits public opinion until the end of the month, it held the media seminar to explain the draft amendment.

"The proposed amendment is not unique to China. It is consistent with international practice. We deleted that article because it doesn't exist in the laws of the US, Germany, or Japan and South Africa, et cetera," said Wang Ziqiang, head of the administration's law department, in charge of drafting the proposal.

"The law is not aimed at protecting the interests of a certain group. It is to balance the interests of the copyright owners, the users and the consumers," Wang said.

"The fact that the works can be recreated by others after three months will benefit the public by providing them with different versions of one song."

However, Song Ke, a well-known musician, wasn't on the same key as Wang.

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