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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    You sign the contract, you live with the terms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Tor (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    It has been the same in Sweden for a long time. As of late the largest Swedish collecting society has allowed people to use CC licenses though which is a nice development (apart from the fact that you for some reason are limited to a non-commercial CC license).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 10:38am


    What if the signup with MUST wasn't part of the contract? What if that wasn't fully disclosed within the contract?

    Should he have to "live with it" if he was deceived into being a part of MUST?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Nikki, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    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. -Nikki-

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Hulser (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    JMG, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 11:23am


    Makes me wonder why artists should sign up with these contracts at all. If some collection agency supposedly representing "the artist" could remove self-promotions whenever they felt like it, I'm not sure there would be much point to having them at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Steven (profile), Jun 30th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    Re: I've seen this movie before

    Of course this begs the question... Why the hell should anybody ever be able to tell me I can't sing a song!?!?

    Well, at least it's not my birthday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    William, Jun 30th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Small correction...blog is in Chinese not Mandarin. You cannot "write" Mandarin per se, it is a spoken Chinese dialect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    gnutel0 (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 4:17pm


    read the article again, you idiot. HE DIDNT SIGN A CONTRACT WITH MUST.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    theskyrider (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    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.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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