JASRAC Crackdown

Japan’s Fair Trade Commission told the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) to stop collecting usage fees because it suspects the organization’s operations violate anti-monopoly regulations.

For years, music insiders have complained that JASRAC’s monopoly on copyright fees has stifled competition in Japan.
JASRAC represents about 99 percent of the copyright holders in the ¥26 billion ($288 million) Japanese music industry.

The organization receives a flat 1.5 percent of all revenue made by the country’s broadcasters regardless of how often JASRAC-controlled material is aired by a particular broadcaster.

Consequently, when a TV or radio station plays a song not under JASRAC’s control, it has to pay a separate fee to the organization managing that copyright.

Because the broadcaster is already playing a blanket fee to JASRAC, it usually decides not to play non-JASRAC tunes. Consequently, writers and publishers go with JASRAC, assuming it’s the only way to get airtime.

The FTC will probably ask JASRAC to change its practice from a blanket fee to a simple per-song fee based on frequency of usage, according to Kyodo New Service.

JASRAC is the only entity in Japan that has been officially authorized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to collect music copyright fees.

It wasn’t until 2001 that other organizations were allowed to enter the copyright management field.

In fiscal 2007, JASRAC collected an estimated ¥115 billion ($1.27 billion) in fees.