no_piracy.jpgLondon-listed Music Copyright Solutions has set up an Asian subsidiary (pdf) to acquire, manage and administer ownership of music in China.

The company has formed a JV with HK-based media firm Creative Works
and hopes to begin buying copyrights to music that they can then
licence to performers overseas or to TV shows, movies, computer games
or ringtones.

MSC, which handles the copyright for western artists like pop star
Fatboy Slim and oldies like Ray Charles and Tom Jones, wants to buy the
catalogues or cut deals with Asian composers and sell their music
around the world.

The timing is somewhat unfortunate, coming just a week after EU
trade commisioner Peter Mandelson, on a visit to China, singled out the
country's continuing IPR abuses of intangibles like television and
music rights.

The failure by Chinese karaoke bars to pay royalties on European
music is costing rights holders about €14m a year, according to
Mandelson — see earlier EngagingChina story for more.

Nevertheless, MCS chief executive Brian Scholfield believes that
China, pushed by the Olympics and international pressure, is “on the
verge of huge improvements to its copyright environment,” according to XFN-Asia.

MCS says the increasing enforceability of Asian IPRs offers business opportunities which have yet to be explored.

Roughly five years after China's accession to the WTO, there are
signs that its major trading partners are prepared to take a tougher
stance toward Beijing on IPR protection.

According to the — admittedly self-interested — calculations by
member associations of the International Intellectual Property
Alliance, the US record and music industry lost $204m due to Chinese
piracy in 2004. The figures for other industries are even higher — see
this Asia Media News story for more.

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