The Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestras has refused to pay musical royalties to the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) after the copyright protection body raised fees for music performed during concerts. The intentional failure by a musical organisation to pay musical copyright fees set by JASRAC is rare and is likely to spark a debate on the use of musical copyrights. According to JASRAC, music royalties in Japan have been below international standards. The institution said it had received complaints from rock groups including U2 and the Rolling Stones, that the fees for performing their music in Japan were insufficient. JASRAC began discussing royalty issues with concerned organisations in 1999 in an attempt to bring its royalties in line with international standards. In October 2003, JASRAC implemented its new provisions, including one that stipulates a new royalty system. Under the new system, royalties are decided in accordance with admission charges and the seating capacity of the venue. The fee was previously fixed regardless of the size of the venue. The new system has contributed to lowering copyright fees for music performed at small venues. However, the system has increased financial burdens on orchestras, which use large concert halls with greater seating capacity. In the United Kingdom, moves by the Performing Rights Society to raise the levy on live concerts from 3% of Box Office towards 6% (over a period of time) for classical concerts has resulted in a referral to the Copyright Tribunal.
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