How Pepsi Cola and Converse destroy young artists‘ existence.

You can probably imagine that it’s hard for young artists to make a living from their work. Did you also know that giants like Pepsi Cola sponsor companies that steal the artists’ intellectual property?

The name Zing might not say too much to you if you’re not Vietnamese and don’t engage in illegal internet downloads. Zing is a company that makes money by stealing others’ people intellectual property and distributing it for free. In that way they attract millions of visitors, most of them keen on the illegal use of music, videos and all the like, from Hollywood movies to gospel songs. Apparently the sixth most visited website in Vietnam, it shouldn’t surprise that Zing also attracts ‘freeriders” from overseas. Yet, not just that, they also get financial support from companies such as Goldman Sachs (investor), Converse, Sony and Pepsi Cola (sponsors).

Zing_sponsorsPowerful partners sponsor illegal downloads….

In a country where corruption is endemic and where the bigger part of governmental representatives informally cash in on any sort of transactions, it shouldn’t surprise that companies like Zing make big money from exploiting what others created. Not just due to the support of big companies, but also because independent artists are powerless against the dirty tricks of all these criminals. Fortunately enough, not all the big ones are deaf: after a first wave of anger, Samsung and Coca Cola have apparently pulled out of the immoral business in 2012. In the meantime, it also seems no longer possible to download songs of stars such as the King of Pop or Madonna. However, the most vulnerable are still exposed and independent Vietnamese artists only have a voice if they shout out load enough.

Zing_1Free downloads against a gift voucher from Pepsi? Why not….Zing has it all!

If Zing were Pandora or some radio station in a developed country, artist Ho Bich Ngoc who according to Zing had some 31’365 listeners on their website would receive royalties for being played. Not so in Vietnam, where even national radio or TV stations use the work of artists for free. Then again, who talks about royalties, where piracy is considered marketing? While Vietnam has passed laws against piracy, it has so far failed to enforce them, enabling sites like Zing to grow into respectable businesses. One who can put two and two together knows why: compensation is the ‘key’. Not royalties for artists but Greenbacks for officials who close both eyes on criminals such as guys like Le Hong Minh and his fellows at Zing.

Zing_231‘365 listeners but not one dollar in royalties – Vietnamese artists face hard headwinds against multimillion dollar companies and corrupt authorities who collaborate together.

While Vietnam ranks 119 (out of 175 countries) in the corruption index, far behind other Southeast Asian nations, people at Zing are cashing in on the illegal downloads of young artists’ work. Why on Earth should we pay for the consumption of your products if you don’t protect those who give us music, Alberto Weisser et al.? Shouldn’t we simply take the next can of Pepsi for free while leaving the grocery store, as long as you support thieves?


About blaubear

Born in 1973 in a small village in rural Switzerland and into a society largely dominated by cows (not only was the human population of one-hundred-and-forty outnumbered by them, but politics were driven by unreasonable subsidies for diary products) I was connected with nature from early age on. Observing nature on one hand and the deficiencies of a dysfunctional Swiss agricultural policy with farmers that had lost connection to the land that provided their income on the other, I soon started to question society and the meaning of life. Suffering also under a farcical public education I developed curiosity to discover on my own. That was how I soon learned that little of what I had been taught was true. Skepticism and interaction with people from for me new cultures fostered my interest for the world and eagerness to leave a life shaped by federalistic layman-ship. At the age of twenty-three I hit the road for the first time, an event that later translated into passion. Traveling between cultures has since become part of my life. At the age of thirty-three I finally realized my dream and did a degree in Environmental Engineering from which I graduated in 2009, only to leave Switzerland once more for my "real home" Spain. Unfortunately, the stay was a short one: a couple of months later I was offered a job in Southeast Asia, where I worked and also lived (with some interruptions, e.g. I live in Melbourne since late 2012) ever since. Having worked for a Japanese company earlier in my life, I soon felt captured again by Asian culture and thinking which makes a lovely contrast to my European heritage. My journey through different countries and cultures has taught me that regardless of how different our thinking and values are, no matter what approaches we take, we all can learn from each other. And if we are open enough to see the common instead of pointing out the differences, then we have a chance to live in harmony and peace: Life is all about integration, not exclusion! It's an old wisdom that "knowledge is power", as such I never get tired of being around new people, having interesting talks, and reading lots of good books. I hope that my blog can contribute to the conversation.
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