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Japanese government considering copyright term extension

By | Published on Wednesday 10 July 2013


The Japanese government is considering legislation to extend the copyright term on original works, which would increase protection for songwriters, composers and music publishers who own rights in lyrics and musical score.

The copyright term for such works in Japan is currently the life of the author plus 50 years. According to newspaper Nikkei and music business site McClure Music, proposals are now being considered to extend that to life plus 70 years, bringing Japanese copyright inline with the US and European Union.

The country’s collecting society JASRAC has been lobbying for the extension for sometime, though it seems the issue is on the Japanese government’s agenda now as part of its plans to enter negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, in which the US is known to be pressuring other participating countries to step up their IP laws.

Assuming that is true, TPP talks could result in extended copyright terms in a number of Asia-Pacific countries, though given the size of the music market in Japan, the increased term there would have the biggest tangible benefit to global music publishers.

Term extension talk in the region so far has generally focused on the copyright in songs rather than recordings. The latter term in Japan is currently 50 years after release, compared to 95 years in the States and 70 years in the EU.