The music industry in the United States has complained about well-known companies whose ads appear on illegal downloading sites and is trying to get them to stop such advertising. Those commercials are mostly placed by ad networks contracted by agencies working for the companies. In May, the Association of National Advertisers issued guidelines to its members urging them to try and prevent such placements.
The decision by Coca-Cola and Samsung could add impetus to efforts by Vietnamese web companies to clean up their act.
Vietnamese company MV Corp, which represents around half of the local music industry, says some of the biggest sites, including Zing, plan to begin charging for music on Nov. 1. But it is unclear whether the deal means they will take down their infringing material, or whether Western recording companies will take part.
Stopping rampant illegal downloading of songs is a priority for the music industry worldwide, but progress has been patchy as consumers get used to free music. As broadband internet connections have grown in Asia, the problem has gotten worse. Vietnam has passed laws against piracy, but has failed to enforce them, enabling sites like Zing to grow into respectable businesses.
Recording artists in Vietnam no longer can make money selling music. They have had to live with the reality of illegal downloading as they seek promotional opportunities or sponsorship to earn a living. Zing's giant reach was important to them even as it attracted complaints. One entertainment music executive complained bitterly about the site, but said that he couldn't publicly speak out against it because it would not highlight his company's songs.
Still, one of Vietnam's most popular singers, Le Quyen, has begun legal proceedings against Zing and eight other websites to try and get compensation, according to her lawyer Le Quang Vy.