JASRAC putting pressure on YouTube

On Monday, JASRAC sent a letter to YouTube, asking them to proactively check if uploaded videos infringe their copyrights. According to the letter, the problem is that the Notice & Takedown scheme is too time-consuming, and “not functioning well due to the large volume of illegal uploads.” Therefore, JASRAC asks YouTube to “implement an infringement-preventive system, which eliminates copyright infringement by employing various technologies of today” (hmm?) as well as to take three provisional measures in the meantime: 1. add a copyright warning on the frontpage; 2. “[r]egister the names and addresses of those users making uploads and to keep such records” (that’s real addresses, not IP addresses) 3. terminate the user accounts of the users who uploaded the 30000 videos that were deleted in October.

Ars Technica has some interesting comments on the matter:

We haven’t seen more of this kind of thing in the US because the DMCA provides a “safe harbor” to sites like YouTube that allow users to create and upload content. So long as they remove infringing material promptly after receiving a takedown notice, they are generally in the clear.

In fact, Japan does have “safe harbor” provisions similar to the DMCA ones. What we’re seeing here, is JASRAC playing it tough: it doesn’t like YouTube’s disruptive potential, and this is a clear attempt to force online video sharing into a “first-ask-then-upload” model.

Contrast JASRAC’s complaining with the more constructive attitude of (some) major American content providers. Ars Technica: “TV networks […] have generally found it to be good (and free) marketing, and several have already signed licensing agreements with the site.” This recent Businessweek article puts the deals in context:

[…] Google calls these monies licensing fees, according to executives who’ve been involved in the discussions. But some of them characterize the subtext like this: Don’t sue us over copyrights. Take this (substantial) payment, and trust us to figure out how we’ll all make serious money once we get advertising and revenue sharing worked out.

To be continued… or ignored?

(Tip of the hat to Cedric Manara).

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  1. […] According to Chosaq, Japan also has a similar safe-harbor exception to the US – DMCA Act. […]

    » Kokoro Media -- Covering the Business of Asian Media on December 21st, 2006 at 23:42

  2. JASRAC is a huge, powerful interest group controlling 10 million dollar copyright income business. Its high pressure, mafia-like tactics of fee collection is despised and denounced. It sends tugs even to small coffee shops that play music in threatening manner.

    The organization employs high ex-goverment officals to obtain favoritism. Its operation is not transparent. No one knows how much is payed to copyright owners and how much is kept in their own pocket.

    YouTube should resist this kind of pressure tactics of JASRAC. YouTube should demand documented proof of contract with copyrighters whom JASRAC claims to represent. Such proof should be submitted for each video they demand deletion.

    Recently 300 videos were deleted in one stroke. Such a blanket deletion is unwarranted. Many of those videos were over 50 years old and copyrights have expired.

    » John Kim on August 25th, 2007 at 05:10

  3. Google/YouTube should form a partnership with JASRAC to allow non-commercial videos posted on YouTube. It will benefit bolth. It will contiribute to world-wide promotion of Japanese music.

    » John Kim on August 25th, 2007 at 05:15

  4. JASRAC holds a special place of hate in my hear, I think all these artists would be upset to find out that they are losing chances at a western audience. This hurts album sales more than helps.

    » Neal on June 28th, 2008 at 06:26