Fri, May 11, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Court rules in favor of riled rapper

LYRICAL TONGUE-LASHING Jeff Huang wrote a song in which he claimed legislators had accepted bribes and were 'murdering' Taiwan's music industry

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Rapper Jeff Huang, center, smiles as singers Mel Yeung, left, and Nicky Lee give him a hug after learning that Taipei District Court yesterday ruled in favor of Huang in a libel suit filed by two former legislators over controversial political statements in one of Huang's songs.

PHOTO: CHEN YI-CHUAN, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei District Court yesterday ruled in favor of rapper Jeff Huang (黃立成) in a libel suit filed by two former legislators.

The case began in 2003 with a proposal by several legislators, including then Democratic Progressive Party legislators Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) and Chang Hsueh-shun (張學舜), to amend copyright laws.

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 that the compensation proposed in the amendment was "trivial," and that the Web sites were infringing on artists' intellectual property rights.

Then in 2005, after a not-guilty ruling by the court on the music download Web site ezPeer, Huang was furious.

He wrote a song called Retribution in which he named legislators and said they had been bribed by Web site operators and were "murdering" Taiwan's music industry.

In response to Huang's lyrics, Chiu and Chang last year decided to sue him for damage done to their reputations.

The verdict yesterday said Huang was not libeling them because his lyrics merely reflected his disagreement and anger over the situation.

However, the verdict also urged Huang to exercise caution because as a composer, the music or lyrics he produces may have a big impact.

The case can be appealed within 10 days.

Chiu and Chang yesterday said they will comment only after they receive the court's ruling in writing.

Huang did not show up at court for the verdict yesterday but said that he would continue to write as he saw fit in the future.

"I think people have taken note of my messages already. I will continue to write down what I think in my lyrics in the future," Huang said.

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