The Tokyo High Court on November 1 has overturned a previous ruling by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and says that the copyright company Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) is basically violating the country’s anti-monopoly law. The court says the JFTC ruling in 2012 this was not a monopoly was “a mistake.”
Presiding Judge Toshiaki Iimura said that JASRAC’s practices makes it very difficult for other music copyright businesses to enter the business, “essentially excluding them from competition.” The copyright giant currently has contracts with major broadcasting stations giving them unlimited access to songs that are under the JASRAC management for just a fee of 1.5% of the previous fiscal year’s broadcast earnings. Other copyright companies have to charge fees for each separate use of a song. The ruling states that under this situation, broadcasters will now limit the use of non-JASRAC music for purely economic reasons. In fiscal 2012, 98.03 of music copyright fees were paid to JASRAC while Tokyo-based e-License only received .76%, according to figures from the Agency for Cultural Affairs. e-License is the one that has brought this issue to the courts.
The June 2012 ruling by the JFTC saying that JASRAC’s business practices are not in violation of the anti-monopoly law actually overturned a February 2009 decision by a commission, ordering JASRAC to change its business model because it is essentially a monopoly already. Now that the Tokyo High Court has reversed their ruling, the JFTC will now have to revisit the legality of the licensing policies of the copyright company. A JFTC legal affairs representative however says they are considering filing an appeal, citing the decision as “very disappointing.”
[ via Mainichi ]