In Japan, the dominating copyright management organization called JASRAC collects money as royalty from musicians.
However, for some reason the collected royalties are not correctly distributed to the copyright owners, under the name of ‘blanket contract.’
Please see Funky Sueyoshi’s website for details: http://www.funkyblog.jp/jasrac/
He is a Japanese musician who continues to fight, for the sole purpose of protecting music in Japan.
Although he is not involved in this project led by Hojin Egawa as he is currently fighting a lawsuit, we at ‘Supporters of Funky’ have had numerous conversations with musicians and fellow supporters about what we can do to help their fight to protect music in Japan, and decided to take basic action.
First of all, we will provide evidence to the commonly observed fact that musicians are not distributed royalties properly, even when they play their own songs at live venues.
Claiming that it is ‘a big burden for users to identify and report all the songs that have been performed (at the show),’ JASRAC collects royalties from establishments, puts them in a secret box under the name of ‘blanket contract,’ and distributes royalties based on what they claim to be sampling results from their selected ‘monitor venues’ which they refuse to clarify where they are. How the royalties are distributed is not made open to the copyright owners nor the public.
(The official reply made at Diet questioning by Deputy Vice Minister for Policy Planning and Co-ordination of the Agency for Cultural Affairs can be seen here: http://youtu.be/hSrHhh0bnCo?t=1m16s)
In this digital era, is it REALLY such a ‘big burden for users’ to identify all the songs that were played?
At Live Bar X.Y.Z→A, a live venue in Hachioji, performers fill out ‘Music Venue Repertoire Report’ which is a JASRAC report format, all by handwriting.
In this age of digital, JASRAC, which dominates most of Japan’s copyright market, still operates on a reporting format that have to be filled out by hand.
They make musicians and establishments submit handwritten forms, and JASRAC inputs the data on their side based on the forms.
Which makes us wonder…isn’t it because of this outdated system that is making it ‘a big burden’ for users?
So, with advice from Hojin Egawa, we have decided to develop the ‘Repertoire Input System’, which enables easy input of performed songs and digital output based on JASRAC’s reporting format.
Beta version will be released December 1st, and will officially go into operation from January 1st, 2015.
Calling out to musicians who play their own songs at venues!
All you need to do is input the name of the venue and performed songs using this system.
If you only play songs that do not have contract agreements with JASRAC, you do not have to pay royalties.
And if you do have contract agreements with JASRAC for your music or lyrics, you will have confidence to say ‘I haven’t been paid what I’m supposed to get’, when you receive and look at your royalty distribution notice.
If you want to get your royalties reimbursed, make a recording of your performance at the venue and keep it. Attorneys can help you request JASRAC for payment, using that recording as an evidence.
There does not seem to be a system that enables live venues and other establishments make payment for the royalties for shows in the past, but by stocking data using this system it will make that possible from now on. This is a big step forward.
Currently JASRAC forces blanket contract on all music venues, but if we have a system that enables royalty distribution based on the songs that were actually played, it will make a huge difference to the circumstances surrounding musicians and venues.
According to the attorney representing ’Supporters of Funky’, it will be a great benefit for venues as well to be able to identify the songs that have been performed.
By using this database system, the venues that have not yet made a contract with JASRAC out of doubt about blanket contract will have evidence of performed songs to fight with, if and when they are sued like in Funky Sueyoshi’s case, and the establishments that already have a contract will be able to confirm whether what they are paying every month under the current blanket contract is fair or not.
Battles take time. But this small step could be a big force forward to cause a great revolution.
Calling out to musicians, live venues, and music fans. Even if you’re not good at PC, all you have to do is to use your smartphone and input the songs that were performed that day at the venue with delegation from the artists and/or performers. Please note that the performer will be held responsible for the data input, even when the procedure is delegated to someone else.
Also, filters will be provided to prevent data duplication, and it will not enable input from places other than the venue that the inputter is at.
The data will be valuable evidence for musicians that deserve to receive what they are entitled to.
It is our wish to make this movement a big ignition power to change the music copyright industry in Japan.
However, we would like to emphasize this…
It really should be JASRAC’s role to develop this system, not ours!
If JASRAC took our system completely into their existing ’Music Database Search System’, no one would have to put money into THEIR secret box.
The world changes from small things…but rather, we must change something if it isn’t right, to make it more compatible with reality!
For the future of music in Japan, and for our children…
Stay tuned for the release of Beta version on December 1st!
– I share the same feelings with you all.
Let’s all unite, not for Funky but to fight for
music in Japan that we all love!
October 29, Hojin Egawa
To develop this system, we used some of the money donated to ‘Supporters of Funky’ with Funky’s approval. Report will follow shortly.
It is going to be a long battle. Please support us in our fight to protect music in Japan.
October 29, 2014