Composer Discovers His Music Is All Over Chinese TV, Can't Get Paid

Composer Discovers His Music Is All Over Chinese TV, Can't Get Paid

Photo Credit: Vjeran Pavic / CC by 3.0

In a collection 37 Twitter posts, composer Kerry Muzzey described his odyssey trying to get paid for music his that has appeared on Chinese TV.

Muzzey alleges that the culprit is China Central Television (CCTV). He insists that, for many years, the television network has been using his songs in their shows.

The composer employed an interesting strategy for identifying these violations. He says that he uses Content ID to track music his that appears on YouTube. So, he was able to discover the infringements when CCTV began uploading Chinese TV shows that incorporate his music.

Muzzey went on to say that he has been trying to resolve the issue with CCTV for more than six months. He has indicated that at first the company pleaded ignorance. According to him, they said that they downloaded the music from torrent streams that included no information about the music. So, they did not even know the names the tracks let alone the authors.

Then, the copyright department CCTV reportedly tried a different tactic: they told him that all music originating in the United States is legal to use through Creative Commons.

CCTV further argued that they came to this belief because they read about it on some unnamed website.

When this argument unsurprisingly did not placate Muzzey, in November last year the company tried a new one. They told him that they signed a blanket contract with the performance rights organization in China (MCSC), which, in turn, had agreements with BMI and ASCAP. So, they said that he needed to contact MCSC in order to get paid.

The problem with this is two-fold. First, MCSC is not paying Muzzey, in spite seemingly collecting payments for his music. Secondly, MCSC does not handle synchronization and master rights.

In the end, it does not seem Muzzey has yet found a resolution to his problem. Though he stresses the need for artists to track the use their music.