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JASRAC’s public comment on collective management rules review

The Law on Management Business of Copyright and Neighboring Rights (hereafter referred to as “the Management Business Law”) was enacted in 2001. JASRAC was registered as a management business operator under the Management Business Law, and continued its collective management business. Since other management business operators for music copyrights were also registered, a multiple-СMO environment emerged in the field of music copyright administration in Japan.

Coinciding with the enactment of the Management Business Law in 2001 and the emergence of multiple CMOs, JASRAC introduced a system of selective partial entrustment of rights. Under this system, JASRAC members may continue to entrust all rights to JASRAC, or they may exclude any of 4 categories of rights (performing rights, mechanical rights, lending rights and print rights), and 7 categories of utilization types (recording in films, recording in videos including rental videos, recording in game software, recording in advertisements for transmission, broadcasting and cable transmission, interactive transmission, and online karaoke) from JASRAC’s administration. This amendment to JASRAC’s copyright trust contract allowed members to consign rights that were excluded from JASRAC’s administration to other management business operators, or to administer such rights by themselves.

When JASRAC intends to set or amend its tariff rates, JASRAC is required to hear in advance the opinions of the representative of music users in the relevant category of music exploitation, in accordance with the Management Business Law. In cases where JASRAC cannot come to an agreement with the representative of music users, either party may apply for arbitration by the Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

JASRAC members are allowed to exclude the “interactive transmission” (digital music use) usage category from their entrustment of rights, and this would include both the performing and mechanical rights involved. Because other copyright management business operators offer their own members the same choices for interactive transmissions, Japanese right holders can choose how they wish to administer their rights regarding interactive transmissions, and digital service providers can obtain the necessary licenses without confusion.

JASRAC anticipates the deregulation of constraints placed on ASCAP and BMI in the US. JASRAC specifically requests the US Department of Justice to 1) allow their members to partially grant their rights to CMOs, 2) not limit their licensing to the public performance right, but to allow them to license other rights including mechanical rights, 3) allow rate-setting procedures other than through the judicial rate court, and also 4) allow them to collect public performance royalties from motion picture theater exhibitors for the right of public performance for music synchronized with motion pictures.