Vietnam record group, music sites fight over song copyrights

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A Vietnam record association reported two popular music sites to the culture and information ministries for copyright infringement Wednesday, but the sites reject the accusations, saying the association is not playing fairly.

The statement by the Recording Industry Association of Vietnam (RIAV) said Nhac Cua Tui (at nhaccuatui.com) and Nhac Vui (at nhacvui.vn) had refused to pull pirated songs, but the sites complained of "unreasonable" price hikes, Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online reported.

Truong Thi Thu Dung, vice chairman of the association, said NTC Joint Stock Company, which owns Nhac Cua Tui, and  24H online advertisement company, which owns Nhac Vui, had promised to remove the songs.

Nhac Cua Tui (My Music) has only removed 266 of 2,178 pirated songs and Nhac Vui 10 of 1,252.

"We have discussed with the companies about paying for the records, but they refused with different demands, including lowering the copyright prices and expanding the areas for using the songs," Dung said.

She said the association was forced to complain to the authorities after its many negotiations with the companies did not work out.

Nhan The Luan, general director of NTC, said the company had not agreed to the payment because the association is demanding double the prices it charged in previous years without satisfactory explanations.

Luan said the sites have removed all the songs owned by the association, and are working with their lawyers to fight the current accusations.

He also said the accusation is just another unfair interference by the association in the local music industry.

RIAV in July signed a contract with VNG, the country's leading Internet content provider and owner of top music site Zing Mp3 to put all recordings under the company's development rights, after four years leaving the songs to be shared between all music sites.

Luan said RIAV was established as a non-profit NGO to protect song copyrights, so it's "totally unreasonable" for it to cooperate with a profit-making company.

"Also, VNG owns Zing, which is the direct competitor of other music websites, and it will of course impose unreasonable prices for the recordings."

The association earlier made similar complaints against the telecommunication software company FPT, and the latter in October removed all songs deemed in violation from its music site Nhac So.

Nguyen Van Khoa, a managing director of FPT, said the prices demanded by VNG in the contract with RIAV were higher than previous years, but their negotiations failed to lower the prices.

Nhac Cua Tui, Nhac Vui and Nhac So, which are listened to by some 10 million people, in late November joined with several leading news websites including VnExpress to form a league called Sky Music to pay for and promote musical projects and protect artists' copyrights.

The artists only need to save their products exclusively to the three music site members for two weeks before other units can use them with their agreement.

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