Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Music industry debates proposed revisions to Copyright Law

Here’s an interesting Caixin article. The main objections seem to center on proposals to have, in effect, state-set prices for creative work. For example, a mere three months after a recording is produced (I don’t know the definition of “produced”), anyone can reproduce it without permission from the copyright owner merely by paying a fee (set by the National Copyright Administration) to the China Music Copyright Association (MCSC), an GONGO that represents copyright holders including song writers and composers. I'm not close to an expert on copyright, but this would seem to remove a lot of the reward to creativity. And how is the NCA supposed to set the fee? At present fees for this kind of thing are set by bargaining between copyright owners and would-be buyers. Under the proposed revisions, the NCA would have to figure out the right price for every single song ever recorded. How can a bunch of bureaucrats - how can a bunch of anybodies - possibly do that? The answer is, they can't. Instead they will just set uniform prices for everything, and so you'll get the same for composing another "Yesterday" as for composing another "I Write the Songs." Does anyone really want to live in that world? Brrr.

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