Artist Tran Binh, director of the Viet Nam Song and Dance Theatre, plans to set up a copyright centre for art performances, the second of its kind in Viet Nam.
Binh spoke to The Thao Van Hoa (Culture&Sport) daily about the plan.
Why do you want to set up a copyright centre for art performances? Does it have anything to do with the recent problems with the Viet Nam Centre for Protection of Music Copyright (VCPMC) ?
I just thought about setting up the copyright centre on art performances a few months ago. I'm serious and determined to implement the plan. If everything goes smoothly, the centre, under the Viet Nam Song and Dance Theatre, will launch soon.
In fact, many composers and I do not agree with the way the VCPMC has paid royalties to composers in recent years because its working method is not transparent. My plan has received support from many composers.
How will the centre be designed for effectiveness?
The new centre will protect and represent artists in finding solutions to all royalty issues for art performances. It will be quite different from the VCPMC, which is directed by composer Pho Duc Phuong. The centre will aim to work with all artists, not only composers, including those in the fields of choreography, stage directing, and many others. Even shows that use clips extracted from films or art videos will have to pay royalties.
At the beginning, the centre will not approach shows outside Viet Nam.
We have to ask for permission from appropriate ministries, including the ministries of Culture, Finance, and Home Affairs to set up the centre in order to legalise its invoices which will help performance units cut down on their tax payments.
Next, we will consider a royalty rate. I think the VCPMC calculates its royalty rate based on the number of seats in each performance venue. I want to study the Singapore model, which is reasonable. They set up several fixed rates that agencies can use as a basis for collecting royalties.
Will your centre have to compete with the VCPMC?
I don't think much about competitiveness. I just want to protect the rights of those who are working in creative arts and performance. I was encouraged by many people who promised to work with me at the centre.
When the artists finish their contracts with the VCPMC they will have the right to co-operate with my centre. According to my understanding, if the artists want to end their contract they must submit their cancellation in writing 30 or 45 days in advance.
Could your centre raise awareness about royalties, which remains an outstanding issue in Viet Nam's entertainment industry?
I think a reasonable royalty is a good way. In Singapore, each night-club has to pay about 20 Singapore dollars per month. If the clubs violate this rule, the owners can be sued and fined 300,000 Singapore dollars.
I think this could work in Viet Nam.
You said your centre will be a non-profit, is that true?
In the past I said that the centre would be a non-profit organisation because I thought my staff from the Viet Nam Song and Dance Theatre could help me to run it but many composers have told me this model is not stable. The centre needs to be operated professionally so it will charge low commission rates from the royalties. — VNS