Music to the ears as schools win fee cuts

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 May, 1996, 12:00am

School choirs will be able to sing well-known tunes without having to pay large fees to composers under a new deal to be signed today.

The Hong Kong Subsidised Secondary Schools Council, which represents 300 schools, has won concessions on royalty fees.

The Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong (CASH) is set to back down on a controversial plan to charge secondary schools $1,200 a year.

Under the new agreement, member schools of the council will have to pay only $20 for an annual licence for using copyright music.

Parents and others will be able to attend performances. But schools will not be able to charge for tickets where copyright material is performed.

The row began at the end of 1994 when CASH wrote to 400 secondary and 800 primary schools advising them to legalise the use of copyright music on their premises.

Headmasters were angry non-profit making schools should be charged $1,200.

John Fan Kam-ping, chairman of the schools council, said yesterday: 'Even some profit-making bodies charge students half price on some cultural and recreational events. We could not believe we would be charged when we play music in schools. Music is always played during functions such as speech days, sports days and graduation ceremonies. So what could we do?' CASH senior manager Angelina Law Yuen Fai said: 'Schools will still have to be charged, though $20 a year, because we want the public to understand copyright. The payment is a show of respect to the song writers and composers.'