Putrajaya requests MRM to exempt coffee shops from paying copyright tariffs

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, August 23: The federal government has requested Music Rights Malaysia Bhd (MRM) not to collect copyright tariffs from coffee shop owners for installing television sets in their premises.

This is because the main attraction for installing television sets at such premises is mainly for broadcasting of football matches rather than for musical works, said Chong Chieng Jen, the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

In this regard, the fees paid to broadcast service providers such as Astro or RTM is sufficient, he added.

“Normally, coffee shops are the eating outlets for those in the lower income sector. The collection of tariffs from these eating outlets will result in the transfer of costs onto consumers.

“Therefore, any attempt at this stage to put further unnecessary financial strain onto the people is against the government’s policy to lower the cost of living, especially for the lower income group,” said Chong in a statement.

Chong had met MRM representatives on Monday to discuss the collection of copyright tariffs for public performances. MRM is the collecting agent for the four companies that have ownership over musical works in the country, namely Music Authors’ Copyright Protection (MACP) Bhd, Public Performance Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Recording Performers Malaysia Bhd and Performers Rights & Interest Society of Malaysia Bhd.

However, Chong’s stand on collecting copyright tariffs from coffee shops is not applicable to premises with karaoke settings.

He also suggested that copyright tariffs for Sabah and Sarawak should differ from those in the peninsula. Currently, the quantum is the same for all states.

“This is not fair given that the business volume in Sabah and Sarawak is much lower than those in the peninsula. What is deemed fair prices in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor will definitely be deemed expensive in cities and towns in Sabah and Sarawak,” he reasoned.

Meanwhile, Chong also urged MRM to look into complaints by Sarawak native artists that they had not received any copyright fees from the company for 2017. — DayakDaily