Music providers and website operators should meet to discuss the possibility of charging for music downloads on the Internet, a prominent copyright official said on Thursday.

In March, Gao Xiaosong, a famous Chinese composer, said that Web users will have to start paying to download music from July 1, adding many record companies, larger enterprises and several industry-related government agencies supported the move.

At the end of last year, a few of the biggest Chinese music websites revealed that the government supported them too in providing high-quality music for download.

But whether a fee should be charged and who should pay remain controversial issues with the public.

At a news conference on Thursday on the future development of intellectual property rights in China, Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration of China, said it was inevitable that at some point people would have to start paying to download music.

But the question of how to charge should be studied or decided between music suppliers and the Web operators.

"Charging to download music is a growing trend, so it would be understandable to see online operators getting fees from their users," he said.

(Source:China Daily)