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Single Interface for Licensing of Music for Computer Karaoke Machines



Following numerous negotiations between the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) and all three major copyright collective administration organizations in Taiwan, on November 21, 2014, the TIPO duly appointed the Music Copyright Society of Chinese Taipei (MUST) to be the sole representative (interface) for the aforesaid copyright collective administration organizations. The fees for common use have also been formalized. Beginning on January 1, 2015, all business operators that use computer karaoke machines on their premises for "public performance" of music (i.e. performance of musical works) may directly consult with MUST on licensing and payment of common license fees. Upon completion, they will at once obtain a complete license from all three major copyright collective administration organizations without having to negotiate such individually.
 
In addition to MUST, the other copyright collective administration organizations currently in Taiwan are the Music Copyright Association of Taiwan (MCAT) and the Music Copyright Intermediary Society of Taiwan (TMCS). Business operators who use computer karaoke machines on their premises to offer musical works for consumers to sing are very popular in Taiwan. Such conduct would be tantamount to using the public performance rights of copyright owners. There are many songs recorded in computer karaoke machines, many of which often include musical works managed by one of all three of the copyright collective administration organizations. Therefore, business operators are required to obtain prior licenses from them in order to avoid litigation.
 
Nevertheless, there have been cases in which business operators, out of ignorance of the law, thought that by obtaining a license from one such copyright collective administration organization, they would simultaneously obtain the same licenses from the other copyright collective administration organizations. In such cases, the concerned business operators would likely face claims from the other copyright collective administration organizations.
 
In light of this, the TIPO had negotiated with all three copyright collective administration organizations on numerous occasions and agreed that from January 1, 2015 onwards, business operators may directly negotiate with MUST under a "single interface" mechanism. Business operators would also be required to pay a "common license fee" of NT$ 9,000 per annum for each unit of computer karaoke machine. In doing so, business operators will lawfully receive licenses from all three copyright collective administration organizations at once. Compared with previous practice of an individual license, this method also implies a discount with respect to license fees.

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