It is shame that many Western labels and reporters continue to be taken in by IFPI’s poster-boy for the China music market, Gary Chen of top100.cn. Hypebot conducted two interviews with Gary Chen recently which illustrate starkly the shocking duplicity practiced by top100.cn
The Chinese music market will never develop to its full potential if statements like Gary’s are left unchallenged and he continues to practice the very same piracy actions that he accuses others of - and to Hypebot’s credit, they published the following comments by me on their site to balance the claims of Gary Chen.
In an exclusive interview by Hypebot on 14 Dec 06, Gary Chen has opportunistically used the occasion of a new statement by China’s Ministry of Culture to brazenly accuse other companies of copyright infringement when it has been documented by Billboard, New York Times and South China Morning Post that his top100.cn has itself been guilty of such a practice.
A number of his comments smack of hypocrisy and it becomes obvious that he is exhibiting traits of an opportunist political economist in his skewed approach to copyright and I would like to point them out in the interest of a balanced view for the uninitiated reader.
Hypocritical comment 1:
“The big search engine companies no matter Chinese firm and international firm like Yahoo are doing illegal search and download here in China….There is one part in it about restriction of foreign companies selling music online and in mobile sphere. That happened also because certain international company use double standard (legal business in America; illegal search and download in China) in Chinese market and make government agency and value chain disappointed and lose confidence in them.”
- Gary Chen
Hypocritical comment 2:
In an earlier interview with Hypebot on 30 Oct 2006, Gary stated
“Plus, please help us to clarify one more time. We do not have Beatles for download in our website. Just log on our website and you will find Chinese introduction of all great musicians like Beatles. But when you click the track, it says clearly it is not available for download. It is totally legal to introduce any musician and tell a story about them. I do not understand why one or two international journalist say so in their article. Do they really care about the copyright protection in China and want to support a legit music service company like us in China ?”
Fact: Beatles digital tracks have been available FOR SALE illegally from top100.cn even as recently as this month (which I have bought as proof) - and OTHER content owners have also complained that their music has appeared illegally on top100.cn. Read my other article for more details on this.
Let’s be clear on this - as an entrepreneur he is to be lauded for his attempts to build an online music store in China and he is also entitled to cash in on the political economy of copyright but please spare us the moral lecture on intellectual property. He is absolutely right that there are major companies engaging in infringing activities in China that new rulings will hopefully put right, but since top100.cn is itself is engaging in ‘when in Rome…’ transgressions, he has totally lost the moral authority to comment on the subject.
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
Update: 6 Aug, 2008
Top 100 and Google launch legal mp3 search