December 17, 2003
Japanese Society for Rights of
Authors, Composers and Publishers
INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT BY MUSIC FILE SHARING SERVICE
TOKYO DISTRICT COURT ACKNOWLEDGES SUSPENSION AND
COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGES IN FINAL RULING
The Tokyo District Court made a judgment today (December 17, 2003) against MMO Japan Ltd. (based in Hachioji-city, Tokyo) ordering the company to suspend transmission of music files. MMO Japan Ltd. administers a file exchange service called File Rogue, which allows exchange of music files free of charge on the Internet. The court also made a judgment against MMO Japan Ltd. and its representative Michihito Matsuda ordering them to pay compensation for damages occurring from copyright infringement.
JASRAC (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers) filed a suit against MMO Japan Ltd. and its representative on February 28, 2002, demanding suspension of music file transmission and payment for damages. The Tokyo District Court made an interim ruling on January 29, 2003 acknowledging copyright infringement by defendant MMO Japan Ltd. and its representative and also their joint responsibility.
Todays ruling, together with the interim ruling, can be highly evaluated as an epoch-making one which sets the method for proper usage of copyrighted works in this IT age as it clearly affirms copyright infringement against illegal usage forms resulting from usage of File Rogue and as it also acknowledges both suspension and compensation for damages in this situation where distribution of copyrighted works using the Internet is increasing. As for damages, the rationality of the Tariffs for Use of Musical Works submitted by JASRAC to the Commissioner of the Agency of Cultural Affairs was recognized, and by supposing the technical environment surrounding the Internet when file exchange had been taking place and by taking into consideration the number of music files which could have actually been downloaded, the amount of damages equivalent to royalties was set at 30 million yen. This amount is about 1/10th of the amount which is calculated formally by applying the Tariffs for Use of Musical Works.
Illegal actions such as file sharing do not pay any price for the creation of music and exhausts the cycle of music creation, thus resulting in the decline of music culture. We believe that todays ruling will stop this tendency and, in the future, that more people will pay more interest and attention to the rules concerning copyright on the Internet. In addition, this ruling meets the international request for copyright protection in the network age and, at the same time, is an extremely important ruling for our country, which is aiming to become a nation based on intellectual property. We believe that the ruling will be given a high evaluation internationally.
JASRAC will continue to face illegal use of copyrighted works on the Internet with a strict attitude from the legal perspective by using our own surveillance system, the Law on Limitation of Certain Telecommunication Service Providers' Liability to Pay Damages and on Disclosure of Senders' Information, and such. We will devote all our energy to protect copyright and, for the smooth usage of copyrighted works, will promote various measures from the technical perspective by taking actions such as the spreading of digital watermark technology and the further application of the easy-to-use licensing system JASRAC NETWORCHESTRA SYSTEM. We would like to ask for your continued understanding and cooperation in this matter.