The LA Times reports that China is going to “clean up” karaoke establishments by using a unified system that controls what songs are available to sing. The system is going on trial in three cities first:
The government has picked three mid-size cities, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Qingdao, to test the new program under which member businesses will choose songs from a central database. The program, which the government says also will help safeguard intellectual property rights, may go nationwide if implementation in the test cities proves successful.
So there’s no need to worry yet. What are the real motives behind this karaoke inquisition? Some say it’s for IPR (that’s the reason the government gives), others claim it’s a new gravy train (pay people off to get your song in the system) and others consider it a form of censorship. No one knows for sure what kind of racy songs will be banned, but the LA Times is the only one to offer some speculations about what kind of lyrics might get weeded out.
In Nanjing they are doing battle against piracy in less heavy handed a manner: for every three pirated DVDs you give them, you get one legitimate DVD back in return. One former seller of pirated DVDs gave back 20,000 DVDs because his daughter was ashamed of him for selling them. Shanghaiist doesn’t quite know whether or not to applaud the daughter’s ethics or dislike her for looking down on her father — it may be theoretically possible for every human being to make an honest living, but this society is such that maybe whatever honest living is available to you won’t bring in a regular or high enough paycheck.
The other nagging question we have is this: who decides what gets traded for what? If you give them the “Godfather Trilogy” what would you get in return? A documentary on the Long March? Casablanca? If there’s a Nanjing reader out there who knows the answer, please let us know.
Photo from Homekaeru’s Flickr Page.