China Bans Most Exclusive Copyright Deals For Digital Music Platforms

Jan. 6 (Reuters) – China’s copyright authority said on Thursday that digital music platforms should not sign exclusive copyright agreements except in special circumstances, amid a regulatory crackdown on monopolistic behavior in the country’s private sector.

The National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) issued the order Thursday at a meeting in Beijing with influential digital music platforms, as well as record and songwriting copyright companies, according to a statement published on the NCAC’s official WeChat account.

The order comes amid mounting crackdowns by Chinese regulators against the country’s technology sector, which has focused on issues such as monopolistic behavior, unfair competition and consumer rights.

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Last year, Tencent Holdings announced that it had terminated all exclusive music copyright agreements after being ordered to do so by the Chinese market regulator. The regulator had said the company held more than 80% of exclusive music library resources, increasing its influence over upstream copyright parties and limiting new entrants.

The NCAC did not say on Thursday which companies were engaged. In addition to Tencent, smartphone maker Xiaomi, telecommunications provider China Mobile and internet technology giant NetEase all have popular streaming services in China. Globally popular streaming services such as Spotify are banned in mainland China.

The NCAC said that while copyright practices had improved since 2015, when the authority banned streaming of unlicensed music and ordered platforms to remove millions of songs, the industry still needed further standardization.

“The talks emphasized that record labels, songwriting copyright companies and digital music platforms…should settle payment on a guaranteed amount plus a share of actual usage, and not sign exclusive copyright agreements except in special circumstances,” it said. .

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Reporting by Eduardo Baptista Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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