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China Bans More Than 6,000 Karaoke Songs In Push To Improve Copyright Laws

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Diding
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China Bans More Than 6,000 Karaoke Songs In Push To Improve Copyright Laws

Posted November 08, 2018 06:05:41

The Chinese Government has banned more than 6,000 karaoke songs, causing a stir on social media among Chinese karaoke fans.

Key points:

  • The copyright association said the ban will help promote more "legitimate music videos"
  • 30,000-50,000 songs are offered in KTV venues across China
  • Some karaoke lovers on social media said the move was part of growing Chinese censorship

KTV karaoke businesses were ordered by the state-sponsored China Audio-Video Copyright Association (CAVCA) to remove the songs by October 31, in a move the body claimed was a crackdown on copyright infringements.

The 6,609 songs listed as banned includes many titles from popular Hong Kong and Taiwan artists like Eason Chan, GEM and A-Mei.

Many of the listed songs originally date back to the 1990s and early 2000s, and are covers or alternate versions that CAVCA deemed to be violating copyright laws.

According to the statement from CAVCA — which manages audio-visual content in China with the approval of the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) — the body has dealt withthousands of cases of alleged copyright infringement for businesses registered as karaoke venues in the past year.

It said the ban was made "in order to reduce the legal risks of venues that are licensed by our association, and promote the wide dissemination of legitimate music videos in karaoke venues".

The statement added that if a venue continues to provide the banned tracks, the owners "shall bear the legal consequences of their own decision" if the copyright holders decide to bring action.

But while CAVCA claims the ban is solely about stamping out copyright infringements, some artists listed hold the copyright over their work, sparking social media users to suggest that some of the songs may have fallen victim to Beijing's expanding censorship.

One Weibo user questioned whether CAVCA is a "music association or the mafia", while another suggested that in the future karaoke lovers will only be able to sing patriotic songs like Love my China or Forever follow the Party.

'I will be singing acapella in the future'

KTV is extremely popular in China and, according to the South China Morning Post, most providers offer between 30,000 and 50,000 songs.

As a result, banning such a large number of popular tracks from KTV venues elicited a strong reaction on Chinese social media from karaoke fans, with more than 360 million people reading the story on Sina Weibo.

"These are most requested songs every time I went to KTV in the past decade," Weibo user Feng Shaonian posted.

Another user, shocked at the loss of 90s and 2000s songs, said the ban meant "Generation Y can't go to KTV now".

Others joked that they would keep singing their favourite tunes, even without the backing track.

"More than 6,000 songs are banned from KTV, hence I will be singing acapella in KTV places in the future," Weibo user Laogaodianshangquanzi said.

But among the shock, there were some who saw the move as an important step in improving copyright protection in China.

"Copyright protection is the trend now. Musicians' copyright should be protected," Weibo user Feng Qingyang said.

One user said the move was not designed to hurt consumers, suggesting that "it's clearly targeting the KTV industry" and that "if you can't sing those songs in KTV, you can still sing them at home, it's even cheaper".

China's reputation as a haven for content piracy

CAVCA has previously had issues with censorship — its first move after being established in 2006 was to tighten the karaoke industry by removing songs deemed to be "unhealthy" or controversial from allowed playlists.

One of the banned artists, A-Mei — who is often referred to as the "Taiwanese Madonna" — previously faced censorship in 2000 when she was banned from performing in China after singing the Taiwanese national anthem at the presidential inauguration ceremony of Chen Shui-bian.

China, which has had a reputation as a haven for content piracy due to relaxed and outdated laws, has increasingly been working to tighten its copyright restrictions.

There have been 14 government campaigns to fight piracy since 2005, according to the South China Morning Post.

This latest move comes on the back of last month's clampdown on pirated online content, with a new government campaign dubbed Internet Sword 2018 set to focus on 3,000 sites believed to be infringing copyright laws.

Topics: piracy, copyright, music, censorship, china, asia