Karaoke bars out of tune over tax

World Brief

Chinese karaoke bar owners are taking a stand against what they see as state interference by boycotting a new royalty payment scheme.

This month, China’s National Copyright Administration slapped the hugely popular bars with a $1.50-per-room royalty fee, which will be paid to music artists.

The NCA has introduced the fee in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and intends to extend it to other cities.

The China Audio and Video Assn. is collecting royalties while approval is sought for an association for the collective management of audio and video copyrights.

But some karaoke bar owners say they won’t pay to the interim body, while a group in the southern province of Guangzhou says a copyright fee should be introduced based on a song’s popularity.

In any case, songwriters shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for a huge influx of royalties from China.

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