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Vietnam composer cancels copyright suit against music website following compromise

Vietnam composer cancels copyright suit against music website following compromise

Thursday, December 11, 2014, 18:34 GMT+7

A veteran composer has dropped court proceedings against one of Vietnam’s most popular music downloading websites after the two reached an agreement on the use of his songs.

Singer/composer Tran Lap, whose real name is Tran Quyet Lap, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he had withdrawn his lawsuit against Zing MP3 – one of the country’s most-used music downloading websites.

“I filed a suit to defend my copyright so when it is ensured and my interests have been protected, I find no reason to continue with the legal proceedings,” Lap further explained. 

The singer had sued Ho Chi Minh City-based VNG Co., as he found its Zing MP3 website posting and sharing his song – “Duong Den Vinh Quang” (Road to Glory) – without seeking his prior consent.

Zing MP3 is also one of the country’s most popular social networks, where users are allowed to upload their favorite songs.

“Duong Den Vinh Quang,” composed by Lap and performed by his Buc Tuong (The Wall) band, is a well-loved rock piece.

It was used as a theme song for several editions of the popular “Road to Mt. Olympia’s Peak” quiz show organized by national broadcaster Vietnam Television.

Lap sat on the jury of the first Vietnamese version of the Dutch-origin singing reality show The Voice, which wrapped up in January 2013.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Wednesday suspended the case between Lap and VNG.

According to Nguyen Truong An who is Lap’s representative, the composer and VNG already reached an agreement on the website’s use of his own and his band’s songs during their meeting on Tuesday.

The two parties have agreed that Zing MP3 will hold an exclusive right to post the MP3 version of “Duong Den Vinh Quang” as well as Lap’s other published and to-be-released songs, An said.

Though the composer declined to spell out the agreed sum for his disputed song, he said the value of the contract is considerably higher than what he demanded.

Lap is also positive Zing MP3 will take measures to keep his songs from being illegally shared by myriad other music downloading websites.

A VNG representative told the Wednesday court hearing that self-registered members upload songs and instrumental works to the Zing MP3 website and share them for free.

But the representative said that the company does earn profits from posting local businesses’ ads on the website.

Lap earlier demanded VNG pay him royalties and damages as the public sharing of “Duong Den Vinh Quang” kept him from publishing his album.

However, VNG refused to pay the sums.

The composer then took the case to court and requested the firm pay damages of VND155 million (US$7,295), including legal fees.

At the court hearing on Wednesday last week, the VNG representative insisted the firm would not pay the compensation, claiming they were not to blame.

As the two sides held different points of view, the court was set to announce its decision on Wednesday this week.

Lap said he and his lawyer started preparing for the lawsuit around one year ago.

According to information obtained by Tuoi Tre, Lap’s accusation against Zing was perhaps the first copyright infringement case to go to court.

Previously, local singers My Tam and Le Quyen submitted a letter to competent agencies, accusing a number of local music websites of violating their songs’ copyright.

Their cases, however, did not go to court as the sides managed to settle the matter with satisfactory compensation.

Quyen later inked an agreement with Zing MP3 regarding its use of her songs.

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