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    Ringtone producing “technology”
    Update :Wednesday, 6-17-2009

    VietNamNet Bridge – Among ringtones offered for sale by companies providing services for cell phone users, only dialogue-form ringtones performed by some Vietnamese comedians are copyright-protected products.

     

    No agency has full statistics about how many Vietnamese and international music works are being sold by companies providing services for mobile phone users in Vietnam.

     

    Doing business on bodies of others

     

    To have “unique” ringtones, as service providers advertise on the media, these companies employ “cutting”, “copying” and “multiplying” technology.

     

    The sounds of horns, cars, cock-crows, horse neighs, kids laughing or crying are copied from sound sample CDs sold at music stores. Ringtones which are the languages of ethnic groups in the world and soundtracks in blockbuster movies are taken from the Internet.

     

    Cutting and copying technique

     

    Waiting ringtones on mobile phones are one minute long while all music works are longer. Service providers cut music files into two to four parts or two to four ringtones to sell them between 2,000 to 5,000 a ringtone.

     

    An IT expert, Pham Mai Quan, said it is very easy to produce a ringtone for mobile phones. “You can use special software to copy a music file from CD, then mark and separate the file into many parts, change the format. That’s all! This job takes less than two minutes. It is faster for music files downloaded from the Internet because you don’t have to copy it from CD.”

     

    A service provider introduces a strange ringtone on its website today. Tomorrow, that ringtone is available on the website of its rivals. They copy each other’s ringtones without being afraid of legal conflicts because none of them use copyright-protected products.

     

    “It is illegal that service providers sell ringtones to mobile phone users without paying royalties to music authors. This type of violation is very rampant and very serious. Ben Thanh Audio-Video Company has discovered many of its products illegally used as ringtones on bluesea.com.vn website,” said Huynh Tiet, a member of the Vietnam Recording Industry Association.

     

    Copyright

     

    In an effort to protect music copyrights, LK company, which has close contact with a music website, asked a musician named Q to write ringtones for LK under a sole contract, worth 30,000 per ringtone. One week later, the musician sent his ringtones to LK. But when LK company checked these ringtones, it detected that the ringtones were cut and copied from music songs and mixed with some audio effects. Asking the musician, he said that at that cheap price, he could only produce that kind of ringtone.

     

    Another musician named HT sold the same ringtones to several companies. He said that he had to do so because the royalties for his ringtones were too low.

     

    A big group called V signed a contract to use 2,000 music works with the Vietnam Centre for Music Copyright Protection. The group’s subsidiaries also used 2,000 songs on their websites, fixed and mobile phone networks. The Vietnam Centre for Music Copyright Protection had to struggle with each subsidiary to protect the copyrights of the 2,000 songs.

     

    Singer KL was nearly involved in a lawsuit against a website which was allowed to post KL’s songs on its website. However, this website sold the songs to mobile service companies. The case has been taken care of but it is another example of the gaps in the panorama of music copyright protection in Vietnam.

     

    No agency has full statistics about how many Vietnamese and international music works are being sold by companies providing services for mobile phone users in Vietnam. However, it is for certain that the figure is not small with the percentage of 82 percent copyright violation in Vietnam. Is it too difficult for government agencies to conduct an investigation?

     

    VietNamNet/TT

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