Neway outlet closes after MACA copyright complaint

The Neway Karaoke outlet near the Golden Lotus Plaza has reportedly ceased operations, following copyright violations filed by a local non-governmental copyright entity.

A week ago, the Macau Association of Composers, Authors & Publishers (MACA), represented by CEO Ung Kuoc Iang, said at a press conference held at an outlet of the karaoke chain that the chain had violated Ung’s intellectual rights.

Ung accused the chain of using pieces he composed for commercial purposes without paying the appropriate royalty fees to MACA.

MACA describes itself as the only non-governmental entity in Macau entitled to handle copyright and royalty matters related to composers, authors and publishers.

Although the relationship between the copyright claims filed by MACA and the closure of the Neway outlet is unclear, social media mourned the termination of the outlet.

Some netizens sarcastically took issue with the loss of the chain’s now-unavailable chicken hotpot.

The karaoke chain is widely described as selling a better hotpot than it does a karaoke experience. Many customers see its hotpot as elevating the karaoke experience.

Many social media users criticized MACA for murdering the entertainment and music industries. Others considered paying the outstanding royalties an appropriate measure.

Those opposing MACA urged the entity to publish its accounts, to prove it actually paid royalties collected in Macau to external copyright holders.

Some other social media users referred to MACA as a “copyright beggar,” while pointing out that MACA takes 30% from all copyright incomes for their “administrative costs.”

In 2019, the entity generated MOP5 million in administrative costs.

In response to these criticisms, the entity, represented by MC Law Firm, issued an open letter to warn social media users they may be subject to civil or criminal prosecutions should they continue posting “untrue” content.

The letter reiterated MACA’s own statement – available on its own website.

Macau “is a member of the Berne Convention, and copyright rights and interests are protected by law whenever a local’s musical work is publicly performed, broadcasted or disseminated in different ways […] including but not limited to through hotels, casinos, karaoke outlets, entertainment and leisure venues, concerts, one-off events, the Internet, film and television.”

The same statement also noted that under local law, MACA – a Collective Management Organization (CMO) legally established in Macau – is entitled to collect copyright charges for local and external music creators.

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