Taiwanese Collections Society Tells Singer He Can't Post His Own Music

from the whoops dept

William writes in with the following tale:

“The Taiwanese music performance and copy right society called MUST, which is similar to the PRS in Britian, has send a take down notice to a popular Taiwanese blog hosting site, Wretch, because one of the user has posted copyrighted music on their blog. The offending blog was taken down and contents deleted.

The catch on this is that the person who posted the music, Shia Ho Shen (English artist name: A Chord), posted music that he himself wrote and performed. He sent an email to MUST asking about the situation and received a standard form letter telling him that copyrighted material are protected intellectual property and implied that he has no right to authorize himself for posting his own material.

Apparently, A Chord’s previous agency, without his consent, has signed him up with MUST and thus MUST has all right to authorize his content and collect fees — and block him from posting his own music.

After this incident A Chord has started the process to remove himself from MUST’s artist list, started a new blog and posted this whole incident and posted all his songs online at StreetVoice for fans to listen to before purchasing his CD.

The specific links he sent, including to the blog post itself, are in Mandarin. Here’s the Google translation which isn’t all that clear. Also this is from a little while ago, so I’m not sure if there’s been any updates… but if folks out there have any updates, please fill us in via the comments.

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Companies: must, wretch

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Comments on “Taiwanese Collections Society Tells Singer He Can't Post His Own Music”

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Hulser (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If he didn’t give the signing right, then he has legal grounds to go after HIS record company / publishing company. But seeing how they did it, I would say that they are confident to be in their rights.

Maybe this is just a translation issue, but based on the word “agency”, I don’t think there was a record or publishing company even involved. Agency to me implies that it was some kind of organization that was paid to promote this artist, arrange for bookings, or things of that nature. Sure, if you sign with a record company, there’s a reasonable expectation that you’re signing the rights to your own music away. From that point forward, it’s their music and if they want to contract out with a licensing company, it’s their business. But there’s no expectation that the person trying to get you gigs owns your music.

Nikki says:

I've seen this movie before

I’ve heard of this happening before, like when Beyonce sang Etta James’ song “At Last.” She was angry at Beyonce for singing it, but there was nothing she could do because she doesn’t own any of the rights to the songs, and she had no right to tell Beyonce that she couldn’t. I have no idea why some artist don’t seem to understand that when they sign a contract with a music company and they own the rights to the song, it is the music company that has control over the material not them.


William says:

Additional info, I hope this would help clarify some stuff

Hi guys,

This happened in early June and here are two additional page I found from news agencies in Taiwan (not blogs) which I hope would translate better.
Yahoo News Taiwan:
United News:

This one is a blog entry from a Taiwanese IP lawyer’s point of view(unfortunately they didn’t provide an official English translation):
While A-Chord was with the agency “Komi” (not sure of the exact english name), they signed him up with MUST. However, A-Chord claimed that he was not aware and never received any money from MUST for all the lyrics and songs he created before. MUST said that they did send some money to his agency at the time, but that’s a problem of him and his previous agency (sounds familiar anyone?).

MUST’s legal department basically made a statement saying that after the “ISP Liability Act” passed in April, all ISP have to make sure the blogs they hosted does not contain copyrighted material. In the case of the blog owner is also the copyright owner, and I quote, “ISP would basically not remove the site”. [comment: basically? so even if you are the owner they still MIGHT remove it…Youtube anyone?]. MUST’s speak person goes on by saying even if you post your own material, you must be careful if you collaborated with others and that you are not violating their rights. The last quote, my favorite, is that MUST is on record saying, “If you are a member, you should leave ALL YOUR POWER TO US” [emphasis added].

Apparently if you are a member of MUST and want to hold a concert of your own music (hence public performance), you must first apply with them to get permission.

A-Chord’s current agency, A-Shuen, is not a member of MUST, stating that MUST charge companies large fees but has little to no return. Currently they have no consideration in joining MUST.
In some of the discussion in Taiwan’s net world, the consensus is that A-Chord should still have the “moral right” to his own creation although MUST is the authorized agency that can exercise the power for the content creator. Unless an artist has sign some kind of contract to hand over the complete ownership to MUST (highly unlikely), artist should still retain moral rights to their own music.
Hopefully this adds a bit to the story. As for the aftermath, this news was popular for a while, A-Chord left MUST (Actually, he’s not allowed to leave until end of the year when his membership ends, so before then MUST still controls the public performance). Life goes on I suppose. Personally it’s just another example for me on how this copyright problem is a world wide issue. Taiwanese law system is largely modeled after the US system so I am not surprised this kind of things happen there too.

theskyrider (profile) says:

I wrote a song..

And felt the song was just.
unlucky for me, I was signed up with MUST.
Now I can’t play my music, or even sing a chord
because here in Taiwan, MUST is the overlord.

I tried playing for coins, which people tossed at my feet.
MUST came along and told me to get off the street.

I can’t earn any money, without first paying MUST,
Tell me, dear reader, do you think that is just?

Feel free to spread that around…..

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