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KTV royalties sought

A karaoke bar was taken to court yesterday over unpaid royalties for screening music videos.

Shanghai Tianhe Culture Broadcast Co Ltd, on behalf of the China Audio-Video Copyright Association, which collects royalties on China's mainland, asked Shanghai Dihao Entertainment Co Ltd, a karaoke bar, to pay 214,000 yuan (US$31,202) in royalties.

The plaintiff said Dihao signed a contract last September agreeing to pay royalties of 264,000 yuan for 2007 and 2008. Dihao promised payment before the end of 2008. But the defendant only paid 50,000 yuan. Tianhe asked the court to order Dihao to pay the remainder.

The defendant didn't oppose the request at the hearing. It said it was in deficit in late 2008 and early this year because of the financial crisis. It claimed that it wasn't able to pay the royalties and that it had other debts, including rent.

Dihao asked to pay the royalties in installments over the course of a year. Tianhe gave it six months.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court didn't rule on the matter yesterday but both the sides agreed they would accept the decision of the court.

Almost 90 percent of the city's 800 KTV venues have signed contracts to pay royalties. Four local karaoke bars that refused to sign have already been taken to court.


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