October 20, 2016
Japanese Society for Rights of Authors,
Composers and Publishers
Intellectual Property High Court Judgement of the Lawsuit
Against Owners of a Live Music Venue
Yesterday, the Intellectual Property High Court (Judge Makiko Takabe presiding) passed judgement on appeals filed by both JASRAC and the defendants regarding a law suit against the two owners (lower court case defendants) of the live music venue “Live Bar X. Y. Z.→A” (Hachioji, Tokyo), demanding an injunction for continued copyright infringement during live music performances (see March 30, 2016 news release for further details). The Intellectual Property High Court modified the lower court judgement based on JASRAC’s demand for damages, while dismissing the appeal of the defendants.
The Intellectual Property High Court fundamentally amended the lower court judgement, reflecting results of the investigation conducted by JASRAC regarding the illegal music use in calculating the damages and unjust enrichment equivalent to copyright usage fees. This was the main reason for JASRAC’s appeal, and the court upheld JASRAC’s claims for rational damage sums, which the defendants will now be required to pay.
The most important point of contention in this case was determining who was mainly responsible for the musical performance in the live music venue. The Intellectual Property High Court clearly decided, “Both first trial defendants managed and controlled the performance of works administered by the lower court case plaintiff at the venue, and carried out essential tasks in the realization of such performances. As it is acknowledged that the defendants had been making a profit by the said act, it is deemed that they are mainly responsible for the performances of works administered by the lower court case plaintiff (mainly responsible for the copyright infringement),” in similar fashion to the lower court.
Given the fact that most operators of venues that provide live music performances have concluded license agreements with JASRAC to use music legally, for the sake of fairness as well, JASRAC will take measures similar to those in the above case against unlicensed venues.
JASRAC-International Relations Department: