Vietnamese singers ignore copyright infringements

Most Vietnamese singers still ignore being paid copyright fees from music downloading websites.


My Tam is among few Vietnamese singers getting copyright fees from music downloading websites.

A regulation that already came into effect since 2013 stipulated that music downloaders have to pay VND1,000 (5 US cents) per song on these websites, with the website operators using part of the money to pay singers.

However, in reality, only around 10% of Vietnamese singers whose songs are posted on the country’s music downloading websites receive the copyright fees in line with the regulation, mostly famous singers like My Tam, Cam Ly and Le Quyen.

In 2009, My Tam and her company sent letters to major mobile operators including MobiFone, Vinaphone and Viettel, requesting them to stop using songs featuring her voice as ringtones and ringback music and pay royalties.

Finally, the mobile operators finally agreed to Tam’s suggested rates of VND1,000 for each download for songs of which she possesses ownership, authorship and performing rights; and VND500 for each download for songs of which she holds performing rights.

In October 2012, Le Quyen and Viet Tan Studio also filed a complaint against a number of local music websites of infringing their copyright. After that, these websites had to agree to pay copyright for her songs.

Currently, Vietnamese singers whose songs are used by Youtube have to get their copyright fees from its agents Pop Media and Yeah 1. However, the agents often just pay attention to famous singers who are get frequent payment.

Many Vietnamese singers recognise the copyright infringement, but, they usually hesitate to take legal action. Meanwhile, the conversion points for Vietnamese songs are quite low. A song reached one million views on Youtube often gets a modest payment, said singer Dong Nhi.

Singer Noo Phuoc Thinh said that it takes time for singers to see many music websites regularly to know whether any of their songs are being used and whether to demand copyright fees. In cases where the website operators are not willing to make payment, singers have to take legal measures which are very complicated. So singers often ignore the issue.

According to Singer Cam Ly, having songs posted on big music websites is considered a good way to promote a singer’s name, so, many of them need to be widely known by the public rather than concern themselves over what are ultimately low royalty payments.


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