Copyright Infringements in Chinese Ringtones

July 2004

Record Labels, Telecommunications

The Music Copyright Society of China has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the local handset manufacturer, Capitel accusing the company of using copyrighted music for ringtones without permission of the copyright holders. Last June, the MCSC says that it discovered three Capitel cell phones (C6088\C6088A\C6288) were using ringtones based on “Liang Zhu” or “Butterfly Lovers,” two well-known pieces of Chinese music. According to the MCSC, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, the co-composers of “Butterfly Lovers,” who are also members of the MCSC, never authorized Capitel to use the song. MCSC claims that Capitel violated the music copyright for the two songs, as well as infringing on the composers’ intellectual property rights (IPR). “The court has accepted the case, and MCSC is now negotiating with Capitel for a justified compensation,” Ma Jichao, Director of the MCSC’s Licensing Department, told Interfax in an interview. The music copyright society of China (MCSC) was established on 17 December 1992, and was initiated by the Chinese musicians’ association and the national copyright administration of China. The MCSC has become the only officially recognised collective administration of music copyright in China.
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