March 22, 2018
Japanese Society for Rights of Authors,
Composers and Publishers
Nation’s First Judgement on Lawsuit against Owner of Venue Using Background Music
The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) filed an action against the owner of barber shop “Elfina” (Chuo Ward, Sapporo City, Hokkaido), who had repeatedly infringed copyrights by using background music at the venue since around May 2014. In said action, JASRAC requested the prohibition of performances of works administered by JASRAC at the venue and claimed damages accruing from copyright infringement against the owner (see July 11, 2017 news release for further details). On March 19, 2018, the Sapporo District Court (with Judge Yuko Tani presiding) passed judgment, fully accepting JASRAC’s claim.
This is the nation’s first judgment against JASRAC’s action concerning the use of background music without authorization.
The main point of contention in this case was determining the presence or absence of infringement of works administered by JASRAC at the venue and damages accrued from the infringement. JASRAC has been claiming and demonstrating the fact and damages of the infringement based on the contents of negotiations with the owner and confirmed actual usage. In the judgement, it was decided that “the defendant continuously used works administered by JASRAC as background music at the venue,” and awarded damages as claimed (over 31,000 JPY) for the period which the owner had been using JASRAC works without authorization.
JASRAC will continue to take measures against unlicensed venues using background music with an aim to have music used legally.
JASRAC-International Relations Department: