Unauthorized Use of Background Music Indicted for Copyright Infringement

Unauthorized Use of Background Music Indicted for Copyright Infringement


A copyright infringement suit initiated by China Music Copyright Society (MCSC) against Nantong Golden Eagle Shopping Mall for playing background music without authorization was concluded at the first-instance. The court found the conduct of the defendant as infringing copyright owner’s right and ordered a compensation of 10 thousand yuan to be paid for the single song involved. The case is being heard by the appeal court.

According to Chinese Copyright Law, copyright owners enjoy performance right and the right of public broadcasting. In daily life, there are two major scenarios involving performance right, that is, playing music in concert (live performance) and playing background music in public places (mechanical performance). Authorization from the copyright owners should be obtained before the music is used. However, it is difficult to effectively realize the value of rights due to the wide range, large quantity and random mode of using. Therefore, the common practice is to entrust a copyright collective management organization, such as Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC) to enforce.

With the increase of legal awareness in China, more and more business operators begin to give attention to the copyright of music works. According to statistics, more than 20 thousand operators throughout the country have obtained the authorization to play music legally through the MCSC, including shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, cafes, airlines, large-scale cultural and sports activities, etc. Some famous franchise operators such as Carrefour, McDonald’s, KFC, Haidilao (a well-known hotpot restaurant in China), Marriott Hotel, etc. maintain a long-term licensing relationship on music copyright with MCSC.


Source: People’s network

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