31st October, 2019
Towards the end of the year, various media companies such as TV and Radio announced that their annual award presentations will not be made available for the public attendance as before, due to the social unrest which seems not to be settled in the near future. The general atmosphere was not good either for the local movie industry, resulting in pending showing and production reduction. Several live concerts and cultural and entertainment events have been cancelled. The retail business of October further dropped to over 30% as compared to 12% of the summer time.
On the other side, the digital royalty revenue has gained a significant growth by over 30% as compared to the same period of last year. The growth is attributed to the music streaming services as well as on the enhanced claiming system after various studies and improved cooperation between the society CASH and the publishers. The digital income was once dropped due to the fragmented digital licensing. The society CASH used to issue the blanket licence to cover all the repertoires and took the whole royalty revenue a few years ago. As of 2015, when the fragmented licensing took place, CASH needed to make the actual claims with the digital licensees. Since then CASH and publishers have been in constant discussion in solving the problems of new song registrations and claiming work in a very short window period. The result has proved to be uplifting and made up for the loss of public performing income.
In late September, an EU-China roundtable forum was held in Shanghai. The forum was addressed to the copyright protection in the digital environment. Several EU copyright experts, the China national copyright office as well as the major local digital players were in the forum. In coping with the fast growing digital business in China, the forum was to study and share the techniques in enhancing the copyright protection of the digital market. Apart from this, EU parties shared their view of how to promote the copyright protection of audio visual material such as copyright licensing for TV and movie business. The audio visual licensing has been a prolonged unsettlement in China. In the recent years, the rapid growth of the movie industry leading to an optimistic box offices has drawn the attention of the societies and copyright owners in how to make up for the licensing and royalty settlement.
The digital music business had once met a hurdle, which was quite similar to Hong Kong on the fragmented licensing. The local publishers and the society MUST have sorted out their own licensing platform to cater for the digital music licensees in taking up a one stop licence for a large no. of local works as well as partial international catalogues via individual local representation. As compared to the actual claiming work, the process is less complex than that of Hong Kong, because the local works’ registration is much simpler for just one to two songwriters and publishers involved in the copyright registration.
The music streaming service has proved a big growth in the recent few years after several big digital players launched their services. However, it drew the Government’s attention to the royalty revenue of which certain revenue were settled outside of the country and therefore the respective tax payment had not been settled when some global and regional licensing are made with the digital players. The regional publisher have kept on their discussion in coping with this licensing and royalty revenue issue from not worsening the situation.