Fri, Aug 11, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers and rapper go toe-to-toe over insults

I WON'T BACK DOWN Rapper Jeff Huang refused to apologize to lawmakers over song lyrics they said offended them, despite the threat of two years in jail

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A local rapper is refusing to back down in a slander battle with a legislator, refusing to apologize for calling the lawmaker corrupt even though he faces a possible prison sentence if convicted.

Rapper Jeff Huang (黃立成) yesterday said that he will not apologize to Council of Hakka Affairs Vice Minister Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), even though he has been indicted on a libel charge and faces a possible two-year prison sentence if he loses the court case.

"What I wrote in my lyrics was the truth. I do not understand why I should apologize," Huang said. "If she [Chiu] criticizes my music, I am more than happy to accept it."

"But she is complaining about the truth, and I will not compromise when it comes to that," he said. Huang made his remarks when he was approached by reporters yesterday.

Huang said he was only expressing dissatisfaction over a proposal by several legislators to amend copyright laws in 2003.

The amendment would have created a mechanism for artists to receive limited compensation for their work when downloaded by clients from legal Web sites, while operators would also have to pay a certain percentage of their profits to copyright holders.

At the time, Huang said the compensation proposed in the amendment was "trivial," and that the Web sites were infringing on an artist's intellectual property rights.

Last year, after a not-guilty ruling by the court on the music download Web site ezPeer, Huang was furious. He composed a song called Retribution in which he named legislators, saying they had been bribed by Web site operators and were "murdering" Taiwan's music industry.

In response to Huang's lyrics, the legislators decided to sue him for damage done to their reputations.

Chiu, a former legislator who was named in the song, said that all she wanted was an apology.

She said that Huang's lyrics had threatened her personal safety, insulted her and her fellow lawmakers, and had described them using profanities.

"[Huang] may have misunderstood, or simply did not understand the background of what we have been doing. I just need an apology. That is all," Chiu said.

Meanwhile, Government Information Office Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) expressed hope that the legislators and the rapper could reach an out of court settlement in a defamation lawsuit.

Cheng said establishing legal download Web sites is the government's set policy, which he said is a "benign development in the music industry."

He urged people from all corners of society to discuss the proposed legal amendment with peace and patience.

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