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Singapore Copyright Update – Fees for Computerised Music

The Recording Industry Performance Singapore (RIPS) has recently decided that nightclubs and restaurant must from now on pay up an annual fee for a licence that will allow them to play music stored in computerised systems.

RIPS is the licensing arm of the Record Industry Association of Singapore (Rias) which is a non-profit association representing both foreign and local companies in Singapore and is the Singapore representative of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The recording companies represented by RIPS include among others EMI Singapore, Warner Music Singapore, Universal Music Pte Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (S) Pte Ltd or HIM International Music Pte Ltd.

The RIPS is empowered to exercise the rights of the record companies they represent by granting requisite licences for the public performance of all music videos and karaoke videos owned or controlled by these companies. In addition to “normal licences”, all establishments that have reproduced the record companies’ sound recordings represented by RIPS onto computerised or other storage systems must apply for a Reproduction of Sound Recordings Licence with effect from 1 January 2007. The said establishments may be establishments where facilities for dancing are provided, such as discotheques and nightclubs, establishments where music is an integral aspect of the ambience like bars, pubs or lounges, as well as restaurants, social clubs, fitness clubs, and shopping centres. Freelance DJs must also apply for the Reproduction of Sound Recordings Licence, similarly as event organisers or operators. Radio stations, which are covered under a separate broadcasting licence, are exempt from the fee for the time being. The said licence will allow the licensee to copy and store sound recordings purchased from the shop on computerised systems, edition or alteration of the sound recordings being not allowed. DJs for example can create a mix from different sound recordings when they are performing, but they are not allowed to record the mix onto a computerised system.

Ad-hoc licences will depend on the type and duration of the event. The fee will therefore range from $600 for a freelance DJ, up to $15,000 a year for nightclubs and discotheques packing in more than 121 people.

The Reproduction of Sound Recording Licence will be added to the other existing annual licences granted by the RIPS, such as the Public Entertainment Licence issued by the police and the Copyrights Music Licence issued by the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS).