‘Wrong to collect copyright royalties from coffee shop owners’

Deputy minister Chong Chieng Jen says collection of royalties from coffee shops will result in the transfer of the costs to customers, who are from lower-income groups. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: Music Rights Malaysia (MRM) Berhad should not be collecting copyright royalties from coffee shop owners for installing television sets in their premises, said Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen.

He said the main objective of installing these television sets was for the broadcasting of football matches, not musical works.

“Coffee shops are the eating outlets for the lower-income sector of the population.

“Thus, collection of royalties from these outlets will result in the transfer of the costs to their consumers.

“Furthermore, any attempt to put further unnecessary financial strain on the people, in my view, will be against the government’s policy to reduce the cost of living of the people, especially for the lower-income group,” he said in a statement here today.

However, Chong said this exemption should not be applicable to coffee shops with a karaoke setting.

The deputy minister said the same copyright tariffs should not be applied for Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak.

“What is deemed a fair price in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, will definitely be deemed to be expensive in the cities and towns in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

At present, MRM Berhad is charging the same copyright tariffs for all states.

MRM Berhad is the collecting agent for the four companies having ownership over musical works in Malaysia.

These are Music Authors’ Copyright Protection (MACP) Berhad, Public Performance Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Recording Performers Malaysia Berhad, and Performers Rights & Interest Society of Malaysia Berhad.