SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- The government said Thursday it will stop record labels from unjustly charging copyright fees if they are found to have massively purchased digital singles through brokers to manipulate music charts and receive more money.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced this and other measures as part of efforts to root out the malpractice of rigging charts, which is prevalent in the local pop music industry.
Under the measures, the government will also instruct online music charts operators to change their methods of determining rankings to ensure greater fairness.
On Wednesday, the nation's four major entertainment agencies that also work as music labels -- YG, S.M., JYP and Star Empire Co. -- filed a complaint with the Seoul prosecution against some of their industry rivals that allegedly manipulated the number of times their songs were played on music streaming services.
"They are greatly disturbing the pop music market by rigging the charts, sending their products into the upper ranks of digital music charts, making popular otherwise unpopular songs and giving them more chances to be shown on TV music programs," the companies said in a joint statement.
In addition to the popularity, record companies have unjustly racked up copyright fees from the online music service operators based on the manipulated number of plays, according to the ministry.
To prevent the problem, the ministry said it will allow music services to not pay copyright fees to labels, singers and relevant others if they are found to have unjustly purchased the products for the purpose of rigging the charts.
Music chart firms will be instructed to devise various technical measures to prevent manipulation such as giving more weight to the number of times a song is downloaded in determining music chart rankings and limiting the number of times a day that one ID holder can rank a specific song, the ministry said.
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