Copyright infringement, not the done thing

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People always claim that since Vietnam is a small music market, copyright issues should not be a big deal. But, what if international organizations accuse a national broadcaster of infringing copyrights of foreign songs?

It is a national shame.

The Vietnam Center for Protection of Music Copyright recently told a local newspaper that it gets lots of requests from international copyright organizations for support to collect royalties from local TV shows using copyrighted songs.

In response to the accusation, Vietnam Television said it has yet to make a decision on paying royalties for foreign songs, citing the difficulty in contacting international artists.

Meanwhile, Cat Tien Sa Company, a producer of TV shows, said reality shows' foreign creators do not say anything about royalties for songs not purchased for the original shows.

So this means after all the scandals over violating local music copyright and controversies over songs sung by contestants in reality music shows, Vietnamese TV producers still fail to do the right thing.

In an interview to Singaporean-owned The Straits Times last year, Cara Duckworth Weiblinger, vice president the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), said while many Asian countries ignored music copyright, Japan and South Korea scrupulously conformed to it.

All efforts to create attractive cultural products would be hindered if copyright is not respected, she said.

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So far international copyright organizations have merely asked Vietnamese shows using foreign songs to pay royalties. None of them have filed lawsuits yet. But if local producers do not change their attitudes, lawsuits with claims of billions of dong are very likely.

It has somehow become a habit for Vietnam's showbiz insiders to say it is still a small market whenever a copyright scandal breaks out.

If we continue to think Vietnam is a small market, when will it grow?

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