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China copyright centre moves to protect stage works

"Copyright protection in the performing market is no more just lip service - but how to take action". -China Daily/ANN

Thu, Jun 28, 2012
China Daily/Asia News Network

Above: The Thousand-hand Goddess of Mercy performed by a group of disabled artists.

The Beijing International Copyright Trade Center joined with the Web portal new1001 on a "listed trade platform" for international performing arts during the China International Copyright Expo last week.

It lists plays on the website that are available for copyright licensing or transfer together with casts of performers and crews.

"Different from the traditional acquaintance-recommended way, it is a publicly traded platform open to all," Li Heng, chairwoman of the center, said at the signing ceremony.

She said that it is far beyond a usual website. "Most important of all, we capitalize on a vast database," she said. "On top of that, we also offer a broad range of services like financing offline."

She said that her center is planning to provide copyright evaluation services in the second half of the year in "a key move to help good scripts get to capital markets and secure funding".

Despite growing legal rights, writers and performers have yet to realize the returns from the market due them, said Duan Yuping, a senior official of the National Administration of Copyright.

Market operations will help improve the process, Duan said.

After the signing ceremony, a forum discussed how to improve copyright protection and promote trade in the rights to stage performances.

Renowned Chinese musician Gu Jianfen recalled that her first royalty payment came in a letter from a French singer who used one of her songs on a record in the mid-1980s.

The 77-year-old told the meeting that before then, she had never thought of getting paid for composing songs.

In contrast to her surprise, the younger generation expressed their irritation and frustration at frequent piracy of their work.

Song Bingfu, marketing director of the China Oriental Performing Arts Group, said that "many people are now opportunistic".

"They don't want to invest their own efforts in creation, but instead take advantage of Internet sites and use cut-copy-paste techniques to steal the brainchild of another," he said.

Xia Dong, general manager of Oriental Phoenix (Beijing) Cultural Development Co Ltd, said his company has registered every line in new scripts and every set of acrobatics moves for copyright protection as the authors hope to make further inroads into international markets.

Ke Chaoping, president of the China Eastern Theater Union, said his theater encourages musicians to invest in copyright protection.

Zhu Kening, executive vice-president of China Association of Performing Arts, said that "copyright protection in the performing market is no more just lip service - but how to take action".

The key is providing efficient services, Zhu said. He cited a concert with more than 20 songs as an example.

"Getting into contact with the composers one by one for royalty negotiation is almost out of the question," he said.

The solution is intermediary agencies to facilitate licensing and royalty payments, he said.

 
 
 
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