Hoteliers and copyright watchdogs remained at odds over charges for musical entertainment yesterday despite intervention by legislators. Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners spokesman Michael Li Hon-shing said copyright charges for playing music in hotels were 60 to 130 per cent more than those in Singapore and New York. The federation estimated a hotel disco with a turnover of $3.6 million a year was paying $130,000 each year in charges. Mr Li told the trade and industry panel the levy was arbitrary and excessive: 'We are not disregarding the importance of copyright. But we want a more reasonable and fair mechanism.' But the Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong, which levies charges on behalf of 1,800 members, said the levy was reasonable. Its general manager, Leslie Ching Pui-wai, said hotels were paying substantially less than their overseas counterparts to broadcast music in hotel rooms, lobbies and restaurants. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the body that levies royalties on the public use of music and songs, said the charges had been accepted by the Hong Kong Hotels Association. Legislators were unable to bridge the gap after a 45-minute debate, but called for balanced representation on the Copyright Tribunal so that hoteliers would have confidence it could resolve disputes. Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry Cheung Siu-hing dismissed claims the tribunal was dominated by appointees from the copyright sector and said the level of charges should be left to the market.