Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers

The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (社団法人日本音楽著作権協会, Shadanhōjin Nihon Ongaku Chosakuken Kyōkai), often referred to as JASRAC, is a Japanese copyright collection society. It was founded in 1939 as a non-profit making organization, and is the largest musical copyright administration society in Japan.

Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers
Typelicensing and royalties
Headquarters3-6-12 Uehara, Shibuya, Tokyo
  • Japan
Haku Ide


JASRAC's main business activity is to act as trustee of copyright rights such as recording and performing rights for songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers. It manages licensing to music users, collects license fees, and distributes the same to the rights holders. It also supervises copyright infringements and prosecutes infringers. Because JASRAC is a foundation, it is subject to the General Foundation and Estate Foundation Act subject to the rules non-profit management.

The headquarters is located in Shibuya, Tokyo, in a building owned by the Masao Koga Music Cultural Memorial Foundation. It has 22 branches in major cities of Japan. JASRAC was established in 1939 with the predecessor Great Japan Music Association, and is the oldest copyright management company in Japan.


Plage Whirlwind

In 1899 Japan joined the Berne Convention where the Copyright law was enforced. However, there was no concept on how to pay royalties for recorded songs for each live performance. In 1931, Wilhelm Plage (ja:ウィルヘルム・プラーゲ), a German teacher at the imperial First High School under the old system, established a copyright management organization called "Plage Institution" in Tokyo, and argued that it mainly acquired the agency right for Japan from a European copyright management organization and began requesting music usage fees to all businesses using music, such as broadcasting stations and orchestras.

As the license fees requests of Plage were at the time extralegal and their enforcement included pressurizing, the use of compositions outside Japan became actually difficult. Even NHK was due to a deadlock in the negotiations with the Prague Institution for over one year not able to broadcast foreign music pieces. Plage also began to urge Japanese artists to let the Prague Institute act as agent of their copyright management. Though he was also considered to pursue not monetary goals but the proper management of copyrights, he wasn't able to bridge the gap to the music users, and the acquisition of agency rights from Japanese authors caused further uproar. These incidents were called the "Plage Whirlwind" and triggered concentration management of copyright in Japan.

In order to develop the situation, in 1939 the copyright brokerage act (著作権ニ関スル仲介業務ニ関スル法律) was enacted providing that only holders of permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Japan) can undertake copyright brokerage business, and the predecessor of JASRAC (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers), the Great Japanese Music Copyright Association, was established and started operation in 1940. Plage was excluded from copyright management work, received a fine for violating this law, and left Japan in 1941. The Agency for Cultural Affairs granted permission of brokerage business to four organizations, including the Great Japan Music Association, and other organizations. They didn't allow other entry, and the mediation of music copyright became the monopoly business of the Great Japan Music Association.

Video-sharing site

In 2006, JASRAC took legal action by requesting that nearly 30,000 videos featuring songs or clips that violated the copyrights of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Avex Japan, Pony Canyon, JVC Victor, Warner Japan, Toy's Factory, and Universal Japan be removed from YouTube.[1]

Trial and criticism

In April 2008, FTC (Fair Trade Commission) officials raided the society's Tokyo headquarters on suspicion of violating Japan's Anti-Monopoly Law. In February 2009, the FTC ruled that the system prevents other companies from entering the copyright-fee collection and management business.

In February 2009, a cease-and-desist order was issued by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly breaking the Anti-monopoly Law, demanding that the society end its blanket-fee system.[2] Under that system, radio and TV stations are allowed unlimited use of JASRAC-managed music copyrights for a flat fee of 1.5% of their annual broadcasting revenue.[3][4] The order was withdrawn, however, in June 2012.[2][3][4]

On 1 November 2013, in response to a petition by rival e-License Inc., the Tokyo High Court declared that JASRAC's fee levying system impeded competition within the industry and made it extremely difficult for other organizations to enter the market.[2][3]

In February 2017, JASRAC sparked a controversy that they announced they would start collecting copyright fees off of music schools.[5][6]. In response to this, many schools, including Yamaha Music Foundation across Japan filed a petition, arguing that it would lead to increased tuition.[7]

See also


  1. "YouTube erases clips per Japan media demand". zdnet. Archived from the original on 28 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
  2. "Court nixes FTC order on music copyright fees". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. 4 November 2013. p. 2.
  3. JASRACの使用料徴収は競争を妨害…高裁. Yomiuri Online (in Japanese). Japan: The Yomiuri Shimbun. 1 November 2013. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  4. Torres, Ida (4 November 2013). "Tokyo High Court says music company violates anti-monopoly law". Japan Daily Press (in Japanese). Japan: The Japan Daily Press. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  5. KIKUCHI, DAISUKE. "Japan copyright body courts anger by casting a wider net". The Japan Times. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  6. "JASRAC Faces Criticism for New Copyright Claims Against Music Schools". keisenassociates. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  7. OSUMI, MAGDALENA. "Music schools to sue Japan's largest copyright collection group over plan to collect fees". The Japan Times. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
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