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November 2, 2010

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Ruling on stolen song

A TAIWANESE composer has won more than 40,000 yuan (US$6,000) in compensation from a music company that remixed his song, "1937," about the Nanjing Massacre, into a love song.

The Beijing Muyu Brothers Culture and Media must also publish an apology for copyright infringement on its website, the Pudong New Area People's Court ruled.

Chang Mu-ting, 31, a Taiwan musician, happened to meet an old sailor during his first visit to Beijing in 1999 who told him how he escaped the tragic Nanjing Massacre in 1937 because he had left the city to making a living at sea. But he had been separated from his girlfriend ever since and was still heartbroken.

Chang was deeply moved by the sailor's story and composed the song about the 1937 tragedy in 2004.

Chang found a song named "Old Swear," sung by a singer surnamed Lu, under Muyu's label on the company's website in March 2009. It had exactly the same lyrics and melody, only the name had been changed - without his permission.

The court agreed the two were the same except in name and ruled Muyu had infringed Chang's copyright by changing the song name and publishing the lyrics on its website.

In addition to compensation of 35,625 yuan, the company must also pay Chang 5,000 yuan for mental anguish.


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