Shanghai Karaoke Bars Face The Music

April 2004

Record Labels, Live Event Industry

The Shanghai Daily News reports that local karaoke bars are paying close attention to a court case that could force many clubs to close their doors in the near future. The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court has begun hearing Sony Music Entertainment ( Hong Kong) Ltd’s lawsuit against Cashbox Karaoke Bar for screening musical video discs without permission. Sony Music is seeking 350,000 yuan (US$42,169) in compensation and a public apology. It is also asking Cashbox to be banned from screening the discs in public. Sony Music said it discovered on March 7 2003 that the outlet of Cashbox Karaoke Bar in Fuxing Park was screening videos of Hong Kong pop star Leon Lai. Few, if any, local karaoke bars pay royalties to foreign music companies to screen their video disks, meaning a ruling against Cashbox could devastate the local industry. Sony wants local bars to pay the same royalties karaoke clubs pay in Hong Kong, which is between HK$50,000 and HK$500,000 per song for unlimited use. Cashbox argued that it pays licensing fees every year to the Music Copyright of China, an association that acts on behalf of composers and writers.
Last year, courts in Beijing ordered karaoke bars in the capital to pay compensation to music companies for illegal use of their video disks.
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