National / Crime & Legal

Prosecutors get case on alleged copyright violation involving ripped karaoke video soundtrack

JIJI, Kyodo

The Metropolitan Police Department has handed to public prosecutors its case on a male karaoke video maker who allegedly violated copyright law by uploading the instrumental track of another person’s song to YouTube, investigative sources said.

The man a 32-year-old company employee and music creator from Tokyo, is suspected of posting the instrumental track for “Haiiro to Ao” (“Gray and Blue”) by Kenshi Yonezu on YouTube by using a personal computer at his workplace in Toshima Ward on five occasions in November, after illegally downloading it and combining it with a video showing the lyrics, the sources said.

While the copyright for the song itself was not infringed because YouTube has permission to use it, the man violated a related right held by a major music company that produced a karaoke version, they said. To do that, he used special software to illegally download the instrumental version of the song from a karaoke website operated by the company, the sources said.

The man admitted uploading the music but claimed he was unaware that what he did was illegal, the sources said. He said he uploaded the music to get advertising revenue.

According to the sources, the man has made about ¥8.2 million in ad revenue from uploading more than 1,600 karaoke videos to YouTube since August 2014. Although he stole the audio sources behind the videos over the internet, the man claimed he produced the videos by himself, the sources said.

He also posted some 1,800 of the videos on Nico Nico Douga, another video-sharing site, the sources said.