Stores say some CD imports safe

Revisions to the Copyright Law to block the import of Japanese music CDs manufactured overseas will not affect CDs from Western countries, two major CD retailers said Tuesday.

Officials of Tower Records Japan Inc. and HMV Japan KK told a news conference in Tokyo that consumers should not be alarmed by the legislation, which was enacted by the Diet last week and will take effect in January. The revisions are seen as mainly targeting Japanese music CDs made in Asia.

“The basic system (of CD distribution in Japan) that is in place now won’t change,” HMV Japan President Paul Dezelsky said. “We will continue to work with the Culture Agency and the RIAJ (Recording Industry Association of Japan) and make sure that (CD importation) works smoothly.”

The news conference was held to calm widespread speculation that the revised Copyright Law would lead to fewer imported CDs, which are substantially cheaper than their locally made counterparts.

In Japan, many foreign-music CDs are sold in two forms: domestically made versions, which usually come with lyrics and liner notes translated into Japanese, and directly imported versions, which are usually cheaper.