Nearly 60 composers signed a petition accusing the Performing Arts Department of violating copyrights. However, this agency, which is under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has stated that the petition is invalid because composers had signed it before the contents was compiled.
The Performing Arts Department's representtive Tran Duc Tho.
The petition was sent to the Performing Arts Department on February 22, after the meeting of the Vietnam Center for Protection of Music Copyright (VCPMC) in Hanoi on February 16. The next day, the Performing Arts Department’s representative Tran Duc Tho met with VCPMC’s director Pho Duc Phuong, who is also a composer.
At the meeting, Tho said that the petition is invalid and it breaks the law on complaint and denouncement, because the petition does not have a title nor the name of the responsibility bearer and it was compiled after composers had sign it.
Tho added that the petition is similar to a denouncement letter which accuses the Performing Arts Department of breaking the law and lending a hand to show organizers to avoid paying copyright fees. There are the signatures of four people, including composer Pho Duc Phuong and three poets, at the end of the competition. On the overleaf are the signatures of 57 related people, including 30 composers.
Tho confirmed that most composers had signed the document before they knew about its content.
Composer Pho Duc Phuong admitted that many composers had signed the petition before the content was compiled. He explained that last year, VCPMC collected VND41 billion (around $2 million). However, less than 10 percent of the turnover came from performing art field.
At the center’s meeting on February 16, composers protested the Performing Arts Department, saying that the agency had lent a hand to show organizers to avoid paying copyright fees. “They asked the center to compile a petition for them to sign, but we could not compile the document right at that moment. We realized that it is difficult to group up such a large number of composers so we let them sign on a blank paper, at the witness of correspondents. Besides the signatures of over 30 people who attended that meeting, the petition has the signatures of over 20 others. I confirm that the petition was compiled at the wish of the signers,” Phuong said.
The Performing Arts Department said that this act is illegal and inciting composers to “force” this agency to collect royalty for the VCPMC.
Composer Pho Duc Phuong.
The department’s representative Tho stated that the agency is irresponsible to collect royalties for the VCPMC because if the department does this task, it will overlap the task of the Agency for Copyright and specialized association for protecting interests of composers.
Tho said that new regulations compiled by the Performing Arts Agency would not ask show organizers to present copyright contracts signed with the VCPMC to get a license.
At the meeting, the Performing Arts Agency questioned VCPMC about its weakness in management and some financial problems. Phuong said that VCPMC worked seriously under the inspection of a British auditing firm. However, he admitted that the centre made mistakes in some cases.
After the meeting, the Performing Arts Agency said that it would let VCPMC learn from experience; otherwise it would ask relevant agencies to intervene. The agency also said that some copyright centers would open to struggling against copyright infringement.
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