Chinese karaoke silences 6,000 songs including Hong Kong, Taiwan, K-pop artists’ music

  • State orders KTV providers to cut affected music from their lists or risk legal action
  • Southern city of Guangzhou already affected by clampdown
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2018, 7:19pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2018, 7:19pm

Copyright infringement is hitting China’s popular karaoke culture – known locally as KTV – which has lost more than 6,000 songs, including those by some of Hong Kong and Taiwan’s most renowned artists.

KTVs and their video on demand service providers were ordered by the state-sponsored China Audio-Video Copyright Association (CAVCA) to remove 6,609 songs by artists from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea by October 31.

Among the affected songs are works by Hong Kong artists Eason Chan, Twins and GEM, as well as Taiwanese performers A-Mei and Jay Chou.

Only certain versions of the songs will be removed, however, such as those performed for television programmes or from different record labels, according to the list provided by CAVCA on its website.

“Accordingly, the copyright holders of these versions should benefit in terms of getting paid for the use of their productions, if these VOD (video on demand) manufacturers and KTV operators are willing to seek a licence and pay additional royalties for these additional versions,” said Justin Davidson, a partner at the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

The October 22 order from CAVCA – which manages audio-visual content in China with the approval of the National Copyright Administration of China – follows last month’s clampdown on pirated online content.

China’s copyright watchdog eyes 3,000 websites amid latest piracy crackdown

KTVs that continue to provide the songs will have to bear full legal responsibility if the copyright holders seek legal action, CAVCA said.

Music by Na Ying, one of China’s most popular singers – who, along with Eason Chan and Jay Chou, was a former judge on Chinese reality talent show Sing! China – is also included in the list of songs to be removed.

Songs performed in Mandarin by K-pop boy bands iKON, Monsta X and VIXX are similarly affected.

KTV operators in Guangzhou, in the southern province of Guangdong, have already been hit, according to the city’s Yangcheng Evening News.

As most operators provide between 30,000 and 50,000 songs, removing 6,000 songs will greatly reduce the number of offerings, especially popular songs, that customers can select, one operator told the newspaper.

Many of the songs in the list are quite old and no longer as popular with KTV customers, CAVCA said in a statement on Monday.

It also said the copyright holders of the songs had taken, or were planning to take, legal action against Chinese KTV operators.

There have been 14 government campaigns to fight piracy in China spearheaded by the National Copyright Administration of China since 2005.