Music schools to sue Japan's largest copyright collection group over plan to collect fees
Japan Times -- May 16
A group of major private music school operators said Tuesday they intend to take legal action against Japan's largest copyright collection group after it emerged it would from next January levy copyright fees on schools using its music.

The music school operators said they planned to file a lawsuit against the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) with the Tokyo District Court as early as July, a representative told The Japan Times.

In February, JASRAC informed several hundred private music school operators it will begin collecting copyright fees for the use of sheet music under its management.

It claims the use of music to teach piano or other instruments infringes on the “right of performance” under Article 22 of the Copyright Law, which stipulates the composer has the exclusive right to perform their work publicly.

JASRAC plans to revise its regulations, enabling the organization to collect 2.5 percent of all annual fees charged by the music schools.

But school operators argue that performances during classes should not require consent from a composer under the copyright law.

In response to JASRAC’s move, Yamaha Music Foundation, Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co. and five other musical school operators initially set up a group advocating for the right to educate using musical works without copyright consent.

The group, which now has 350 members, has collected over 10,000 signatures demanding a halt to JASRAC’s plan, which it plans to submit to the culture ministry in July.It remains unclear how many companies will join the lawsuit.

“We want the court to confirm that performances at (music) schools do not need JASRAC’s consent,” said a representative for the group.

The representative said that JASRAC’s move had sparked concern among students that the copyright fees would affect the schools. He acknowledged the revised policy could lead to an increase in tuition fees.

Yamaha Music Foundation has more than 3,300 schools across Japan teaching about 390,000 students, including 280,000 children.

News source: Japan Times
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