Warning letters have been sent to several KTV outlets asking for payments for royalties. Apparently, most of these outlets have already paid for some form of "rights" – which allows them to reproduce copies of audio and video. However, this payment does not seem to cover royalties that are being paid to publishers. This reminded me of the time that we had to pay $1.50 or so for some 版权 "copyrights" fee; and this was multiplied by the number of people that went for the KTV session. Needless to say, all of us were sulking over it because it was a hidden cost and there were quite a few of us. So now, we not only know that it’s really a fee that the KTV outlets pay, but we also know that it does not cover the royalties.

As in the "copyrights" fee, we learn that the outlets will be passing the cost back to the consumer – and with the exorbitant fee that the publishers are asking for, it does seem like the end of good deals is near. Either that, or it just get added on as some hidden fee. I hope they will put it up-front at the counter.

Karaoke outlets asked to pay royalties

By Carolyn Quek & Serene Luo

THE cache of songs stored by karaoke outlets for patrons to pick and choose from is now at the centre of a copyright wrangle.

The Composers And Authors Society of Singapore (Compass) sent out letters to over 300 karaoke establishments islandwide late last month, asking that they pay royalties to the music composers and lyricists for the songs in their collections.

The karaoke places were caught flat-footed. The royalties involved – estimated at $3 a song for the first copy and $1,000 for each subsequent copy – could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Compass licensing manager Melvin Tan said that thus far, karaoke outlets have been paying only for ‘reproduction rights’ to make copies of the audio and visuals that go with the songs. This does not cover royalties for writers of the music or the lyrics.

The issue has arisen because of the Karaoke-On- Demand storage server, a gadget onto which suppliers copy digital music videos. Such devices are leased out to karaoke outlets at $250 to $350 a month.

Mr Andy Lim, 36, managing director of Octopus Holdings which owns 40 karaoke pubs, said he was taken aback by the letter. He has paid InnoForm Entertainment, which collects royalties for 10 record labels here, more than $150,000 since April last year, believing this would take care of everything.

On Wednesday, he and his 40 operators lodged reports with the Commercial Affairs Department, accusing InnoForm of having ‘cheated’ them. But InnoForm director Nancy Chua said clauses in the contracts with its karaoke operator clients state clearly that only reproduction rights were covered.

Compass’ Mr Tan said the warning letters were sent out because four publishers had sought its help in January to recover what was due to them.

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_268244.html

And this is quite an interesting highlight on the different copyrights:

Who holds copyrights?

THE right to reproduce songs belted out in karaoke bars is divided into two categories:

Copyrights to the lyrics and music

These are held by composers and lyricists under music publishers like EMI Music Publishing and Sony Music Publishing.

The Composers and Authors Society of Singapore collects these royalties for its members.

Copyrights to the singers’ vocal and video recordings

These are usually owned by record labels that paid for the work.

Entertainment company InnoForm collects these royalties on behalf of 10 record companies in Singapore.

Article extracted on 15th August 2008

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