It is inevitable that charges will be introduced for music downloads in China, Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration of China, said on Thursday.
The issue of payment for online music services should be negotiated between content providers and website operators, said Yan at a regular press conference.
"Website operators should pay copyright holders to get permission," said Yan, adding that operators can continue providing free music services while using advertising revenue to make up the costs.
Chinese Internet users have long been fond of downloading the latest chart-topping songs from music websites or online portals, as most sites offer the tunes for free.
According to Yan, a revision draft of the Copyright Law has been submitted to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council for approval.
The revised draft highlights the protection of online work copyrights and specifies liabilities of content providers and website operators, explained Yan, adding that the revision is aimed at striking a balance between copyright protection and legal use of the Internet.