Oct 6, 2012

Vietnam - Zing losses advertising contracts with Coca-Cola, Samsung and the lesson

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VietNamNet Bridge - After Coca-Cola and Samsung withdrew their advertisements on Zing, yesterday, October 5, Zing attempted to reach an international music copyright agreement with Universal Music.

According to experts, this incident sounds the bells of respect for copyright in Vietnam.

In the last few days, the advertising circles have been stirred up because Coca-Cola and Samsung stopped cooperating with Zing when they knew that this website has many non-copyrighted Vietnamese and foreign songs.

As one of the most visited websites (ranking 6th) in Vietnam, Zing’s incident has become a warning for the respect of intellectual property rights of the media in Vietnam.
External Relations Director of Coca-Cola Vietnam, Nguyen Khoa My, said on VNExpress that the contract was signed based on the belief that Zing is a licensed website and it had confirmation of intellectual property. However, Coca-Cola received information and documents showing the concerns about intellectual property issues of Zing by some commercial agencies.

"In the face of these concerns, Coca-Cola decided to withdraw its advertising from the site," he said.

According to Mr. My, the prerequisite for Coca-Cola to cooperate with any partner is that the partner has to have a fully legal entity. If it is a website, it must be licensed and must be confirmed to comply with intellectual property rights.

Previously, Zing website made clear statement about copyright. As a client of Zing, Coca-Cola said it can not determine what extent of intellectual property rights that the operating model of Zing is compliant with. So, after receiving information mentioning concerns over this issue, Coca-Cola had to withdraw advertising, stop cooperation activities, My said

"This decision shows the responsibility of our business," said My.

While Samsung Vietnam has not made any official response about this, in a statement posted on the AP, Samsung (South Korea) said: "We respect copyright and we oppose any copyright violation, such as copying and distribution of copyrighted documents."

Deputy General Director of VinaGame (VNG), the owner of Zing, Mr. Vuong Quang Khai said on VNExpress: "Zing MP3 is one of the units that hold most music copyright in Vietnam".

Khai said, for Vietnamese music, Zing purchased the copyright from the Recording Industry Association of Vietnam, the Center for Vietnamese Music Copyright, as well as directly cooperated with hundreds of artists like Dam Vinh Hung, Ho Ngoc Ha, Thuy Tien, Hien Thuc, Noo Phuoc Thinh, etc.

For foreign music, Zing has been working with representatives of the world's major music labels such as Universal and Sony Music for several months. "This is a difficult process to be able to convince these "giants" to accept a business model consistent with the habits of enjoying free music of users in Vietnam," said Khai.

Khai also said that on October 5, VNG and Universal Music Group reached an agreement on music copyright. Universal Music will grant the right to hear the recordings of Universal Music (in the forms of streaming and download for a fee) to Vietnamese users on the whole system of this website. VNG commited to remove all access from outside the territory of Vietnam to the records of Universal Music on Zing MP3.

Director of the Vietnam Institute of Advertising Research and Training, Mr. Do Kim Dung, said that the actions of Coca-Cola and Samsung should be encouraged.

He said that it's time for brands to not need to pay for advertising space on a media tool that lack legal transparency. This is the way to respect their own brands and respect smart consumers.

"This is a lesson for media owners which urge them to be more aware of respecting intellectual property rights," Dung said.

Compiled by Na Son

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