Author Li Zhenwu (lawyer)
Under the background of the maturity of big data technology, the problem of benefit distribution of voice consortium and rights holders can also be solved by delimiting reasonable payment standards and estimating the frequency of songs being used scientifically.
Recently, a public announcement by the China Audio and Video Copyright Collective Management Association (referred to as "Audio Collection Association") triggered social discussion. When many copyright owners clap their hands, they also let people see what is called "a fierce operation like a tiger".
In the announcement, the Association notified KTV operators to delete more than 6,000 unauthorized songs, including "Ten Years" and "Listening to the Sea". The latest response of the Sound Collection Association is that the deletion of the library is to avoid the risk of infringement, and to let the copyright party return to the collective embrace, so as to gain profits through dissemination.
According to the official website of the Audio Collection Association, there is a serious breach of contract in the unit entrusted by the Audio Collection Association to collect Karaoke copyright licensing fees. The Audio Collection Association is prepared to initiate legal proceedings against the unit and terminate the entrustment relationship with the unit regarding the collection of Karaoke copyright licensing fees. This is a very common internal procedure for supplier replacement, but the Voice Collection Association further said that "from the date of publication of this announcement, all copyright licensing contracts that have not been signed and filed by me will be invalidated". Such a treatment is indeed questionable.
The Contract Law stipulates that the parties to a contract have equal status and there is no difference between them. Even if a contract is signed by a state organ as a civil subject, it must abide by the principles of equality, voluntariness, honesty and credibility of the Contract Law. Therefore, there is no procedure for cancelling a contract by unilateral notice, but only by unilateral notice, statutory termination or negotiation termination.
Moreover, in this contract, the Sound Collection Association is not the main body of the contract. According to the principal relationship, the Sound Collection Association entrusts the relevant units to sign the Copyright Licensing Contract. The parties to the contract should also be the unit and the KTV operator, and the Sound Collection Association has no right to cancel the contract.
To put it further, even if the entrusted unit has the circumstance of ultra vires agency, it is also a dispute between the Voice Collection Association and the unit, and can not confront the bona fide third party, that is, KTV operator.
As a bona fide third party, KTV operators, after performing appropriate commissioning procedures and signing a valid Copyright Licensing Contract, require all deletions on the basis of a single announcement before the contract expires, which is inevitably too simple and crude. If the contract is annulled unilaterally without breach of contract, it is obviously against the spirit of the contract.
In fact, considering the interests and feelings of many parties, including the voice collection consortium, the obligee, the entrusted unit, KTV operators and other parties involved, it is advisable to have more "win-win cooperation" thinking to avoid zero-sum game.
Especially for the Voice Collection Association, it is better to attract members through good membership service, clear account-sharing ratio and return supervision procedures, rather than issuing a deletion notice without power basis, which has no legal logic, and is afraid of realizing market share through administrative power. In fact, under the background of the maturity of big data technology, the problem of benefit allocation of voice consortium and rights holders can be solved by delimiting reasonable payment standards and scientific estimation of the frequency of songs being used.
Over the years, as a national, non-profit social organization, the voice set association has developed somewhat slowly. Nowadays, although this announcement is flawed, we also eagerly hope that, as the only authorized collective management organization, it can make greater contribution in clearing up the copyright market and unifying the authorized price.
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