Copyright Crisis

Musicians in China are up in arms over a draft amendment related to copyrights posted on the National Copyright Administration’s website at the end of March.

Article 46 of the draft states that record producers can use music from other recordings that have been on the market for at least three months without having to obtain permission from the copyright holders as long as the producers of the secondary recordings report such use to relevant authorities and pay fair compensation, usually through a copyright collective management organization.

Musicians and songwriters see the amendment as a violation of their right to dispose of their “properties” through conventional channels of gaining permission.

Moreover, they are prevented from even pricing their own work.

One such songwriter, Gao Xiaosong, has started a petition urging the authorities to revise the amendment.

He says that if the amendment is approved, it will dampen the enthusiasm of Chinese artists and hold back the industry as a whole. The recording industry has also complained about the draft, saying that it will hamper record companies’ willingness to invest in record promotion.

Some experts have entered the debate, saying that the draft amendment actually is in line with international property rights laws, but that the rights of copyright holders needs to be clarified.

The National Copyright Administration says it will wait for comments from the public before it decides on how to proceed.