Hanoi Ministry of Culture and Sports has pleaded not guilty to denying permission for Vietart to stage “Tieng Trong Me Linh” (The Sound of Me Linh’s Drum) rule performance. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du
In a hearing on Wednesday afternoon, the department pleaded not guilty to denying permission to Vietart to hold the “Tieng Trong Me Linh” (The Sound of Me Linh’s Drum) rule performance.
Vietart’s lawsuit alleged that the department had “prolonged the paperwork process”, “deliberately caused trouble” to him by firing the rule to show.
He said that more than a month after he requested permission on August 5, 2022, the agency demanded documents not on the required list.
The department then granted clearance on Oct. 3, 2022, nine days before the performance date, leaving him with insufficient time to promote the show, he said.
As a result, he was only able to sell 200 tickets out of 1,100. In addition, the department’s request for a rehearsal of the show three days before the performance date forced him to spend more to cover flight costs and accommodation, he said.
He demanded 672 million VND (about $28,300) from the department to compensate for the loss, and a token 1,100 VND in damages for damage to his reputation.
The ministry has denied all of these allegations.
He said he did not “deliberately cause trouble” for Vietart because he granted the company permissions for four more art events in 2022, all of which were granted on time.
Vietart had not obtained permissions from the copyright holder of “Tieng Trong Me Linh”, so he asked the company to submit additional approvals, he claimed.
Regarding the rehearsal date, he said he needed three days to review the show, especially the lines and the costumes of the artists.
In summary, he claimed he “caused no loss” and denied “any [of Vietart’s] claim for compensation.”
The court agreed with the ministry that it had met the mandatory licensing requirements.
He said that with many overseas Vietnamese singers appearing on the show, the department’s demands were to “ensure political and social security” and were “in accordance with the law.”
He also noted that Vietart did not raise any concerns with the department during the licensing process and failed to follow copyright laws, leading to the follow-up requests.
He ordered Vietart to pay 300,000 VND for first instance court costs and an additional 30 million VND for civil court costs.
The company said it plans to appeal.
“We had no other choice when we decided to pursue [a government] bodies like this,” a company spokesperson said.
“Tieng Trong Me Linh” is a classic cai luong play written in 1977 about the Trung sisters, who led the fight against the Chinese in the 1st century.