National

Ignoring petition, JASRAC to start collecting copyright fees from music schools in April

JIJI

Copyright management body JASRAC announced Thursday it will start collecting fees from some 7,300 music schools in April despite being petitioned by major companies to desist until a lawsuit is resolved.

The copyright fees will be collected from schools run by roughly 900 musical instrument makers and shops but won’t be levied on operations run by individuals for the time being, the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers said.

In June last year, JASRAC informed the Cultural Affairs Agency that it planned to collect copyright fees starting in January for titles under its management that are performed at music schools.

A group of music firms, including the Yamaha Music Foundation, an affiliate of Yamaha Corp., and Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., challenged the move at the Tokyo District Court later that month.

The group of petitioners then sought a decision by the chief of the agency under the copyright management business law to have JASRAC refrain from collecting the fees until the lawsuit is over.

But Cultural Affairs Agency Commissioner Ryohei Miyata issued a decision Wednesday allowing JASRAC to start collecting the fees April 1.

Music schools that sign copyright fee payment contracts with JASRAC by the end of September will have their payments reduced 10 percent for a year, according to the rights group.

On top of the commissioner’s decision, the agency instructed JASRAC to refrain from pressuring music schools on the issue until its right to collect is recognized by a court ruling.

“It’s necessary to avoid confusion,” JASRAC President Michio Asaishi told a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday, signaling it intends to follow the agency’s instructions.