Music Publishing, Internet
The Daily Yomiuri Online reports that the Osaka District Court have ordered an online karaoke machine leasing firm in Osaka to take necessary measures to prevent its customers, who have not paid copyright fees for music to the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC), from using music delivered online. The Court’s ruling held that Hit One had been assisting its customers to infringe copyrights.
The verdict is a precedent for a number of forthcoming lawsuits of a similar nature in Japan and means that music distributors who do not take an active role in violating the law can, and will, be asked to take remedial measures to prevent infringements by users.
According to the Daily Yomiuri Online, Hit One leased karaoke machines and distributed music online to bars and restaurants in the Osaka and Hyogo prefectures. About 97 percent of the songs distributed by the firm were reportedly controlled by JASRAC. However, Hit One knowingly delivered music to a number of its customers who had not paid copyright royalties to JASRAC. Presiding judge Kazuo Komatsu said in his ruling, “The firm was responsible for confirming that its customers already closed a deal with JASRAC to use music, on which the copyright is controlled by the organization, before delivering karaoke machines to the customers.” Hit One was also held liable for not cancelling leasing contracts with the customers or taking other measures to prevent customers from using the machines when the firm discovered the customers had not paid copyright royalties to JASRAC.