In this age of uncertainty, it’s good to know that some people are out there fighting the good fight, day in and day out. One such group is the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (JASRAC), a copyright watchdog for music published in Japan.
“Watchdog” is a bit of an understatement though. They’re grotesquely unrelenting in their mission to take money from anyone playing anything resembling music within earshot of others.
In May of 2017, JASRAC went after Kyoto University for posting the lyrics from “Blowin’ in the Wind” after they were used in a speech by president Juichi Yamagiwa. Although everyone in the world simply saw it as words of encouragement to young students entering the world, it was JASRAC who realized that this was actually piracy in disguise.
Now, JASRAC has their sights set on the biggest network of music piracy ever created: weddings.
Starting in October, JASRAC will be holding a trial fee collection system where instead of demanding money per song, they will charge a flat rate per event (considering a “ceremony” and “reception” as two separate events). The fees will be imposed on the venue and/or company responsible for making a recording. One event will be levied at 5,000 yen for the usage of music during and 10,000 yen for the usage of music on subsequent DVDs made of the event, for a total of 15,000 yen per event.
The news of JASRAC finally smashing this music piracy hustle which dates back to ancient times did not sit well with those online.
“Are they evil or just stupid?”
“They’re worse gangsters than NHK (Japan’s public broadcaster).”
“Why doesn’t the government do something about these extortionists?”
“What’s next? Funerals?”
“They are really doing a good job of killing music in Japan.”
“JASRAC is a hive of evil and needs to be dismantled.”
However, no one is obliged to pay the fee; it is only in cases where copyrighted music which is managed by JASRAC is played and recorded onto a medium during a wedding.
This fee collection scheme is still in an experimental period to last until next year. Even after that, if it is adopted on a full scale, it will still take some time before the impact it makes on companies’ bottom lines affects consumers through price hikes.
Source: AV News, Hachima Kiko
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