(China Daily Online, 18 Jul, 2103) Two of the nation’s top music websites are feuding over the rights to the audio from popular reality show The Voice of China, which just kicked off its second season last week.
Having acquired authorization through different channels, Baidu Music and Kuwo.cn both claim to be the exclusively licensed portal for the program’s music materials.
Baidu Music announced on July 10 via its official micro blog on Sina Weibo that it has won the exclusive copyright to the show from a company called Mengxiang Qiangyin Culture Co.
Also posted on its micro blog was a photo of the authorization document and a screenshot of the registered copyright information on the website of the Beijing Copyright Resources and Information Center.
And the micro blog of the reality show itself also said Baidu Music has the exclusive online audio copyright.
Kuwo held a press conference on July 12 together with Beijing Xingyun Lezhong Culture Co, which was the copyright holder of the first season, and claimed that it still held the copyright to the second season’s audio, video and pictures.
Xingyun Lezhong and Canxing Production, the producer of the reality show, signed a contract last July, which is valid until July 9, 2014.
According to that contract, Xingyun Lezhong acquired the distribution rights to the show’s digital content from Canxing, which it then licensed to Kuwo, the website of Guangming Daily reported.
Top music sites in spat over rights to ‘Voice of China’
“It means that during the valid period, Xingyun Lezhong has the exclusive copyright to The Voice of China, and even the producer Canxing Production itself cannot resell the copyright,” said Zhao Zheng, vice president of Xingyun Lezhong.
Mengxiang Qiangyin and Canxing Production are both subsidiaries of Star Group Ltd.
Zeng Ying, executive of Kuwo’s digital music sector, has expressed some doubt about Baidu Music’s publicized documents, noting that they were just signed this month. In contrast, Kuwo’s contracts were signed much earlier, and “the process is legal from the very beginning”, Zeng said.
But China National Radio quoted a public relations manager from Baidu speaking on condition of anonymity who insisted that their documents are genuine and legal.
“Without doubt, Baidu has been licensed exclusively to hold the copyright for the second season by the rights owner,” he said.
The first season was a huge hit last year. The endorsement fee for the second season has risen to as high as 200 million yuan ($32.6 million), and the charge for 15-second advertising is more than 1 million yuan.
At the end of May, Xingyun Lezhong received a notice from the producer Canxing saying it would cancel the partnership, explaining that it had not acquired the authorization from the format’s original Dutch creator.
But Zhao believes that the unreasonable one-sided rescission is a violation of their pre-agreed contract and there must be some “unspeakable secrets behind the notice”.
“Canxing Production was seeking the judges for the second season when it sent us the notice,” Zhao told China National Radio. “If it really did not acquire the copyright from the Dutch side, then why would it do that?”
Canxing’s publicity department said that it will give an explanation via its lawyer.
Source: China Daily Online