March 30, 2016
Japanese Society for Rights of Authors,
Composers and Publishers
Judgement of the Lawsuit Against Owners of a Live Music Venue
The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) filed an action against two persons, including the owner of the live music venue “Live Bar X. Y. Z.→A” (Hachioji, Tokyo), who had repeatedly infringed copyrights during live musical performances at the venue since its opening in May 2009. 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 owners of this venue (see October 31, 2013 news release for further details). On March 25, 2016, the Tokyo District Court (with Judge Tamotsu Shoji presiding) passed judgment, granting an injunction on acts of copyright infringement and partially accepting the claim of damages.
The main point of contention in this case was determining who was mainly responsible for the musical performance in the live music venue. In the judgment, it was decided that, “Both defendants managed and controlled the performance of works administered by the 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 plaintiff (mainly responsible for the copyright infringement).”
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: