Hikaru Utada Speaks Out Against Copyright Policy

The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, known as the JASRAC, revealed a new policy to start charging copyright fees to Yamaha, Kawai and other music schools. The new policy would affect thousands of music schools across Japan, beginning January of next year. This proposal has gathered growing disapproval from students, teachers, and even Hikaru Utada.

Copyright laws provide protection for artists, composers, and lyricists. As such, copyright fees are earned through karaoke, concerts, and performances. According to the JASRAC, these rights may now extend to music schools. A provision will be submitted to the Agency for Cultural Affairs in July and plans are to take effect in January. The copyright fee is estimated to be 2.5% of the annual tuition income, creating about 1 to 2 billion yen in charges each year.

Two major players will be affected if this policy were to be in effect. Yamada Music School has about 3,300 locations with 390,000 students while Kawai has about 4,400 locations with 100,000 students. While Yamada and Kawai make up a large portion of schools affected, there is worry the proposal extends to many other outlets.

Hikaru Utada retweeted an article and voiced her opinion on the issue.

“If you are a teacher or student who wants to use my songs for classes, I want you to use them for free without worrying about copyright.”

Via Yahoo JP & Twitter

What do you think of this copyright proposal? 

T/N: Estimated revenue has been updated to properly reflect the original article. My apologies for the previous incorrect values.

  • Comments

    • aisasami

      This is a tough one. Japan, if my memory serves me correctly, doesn’t have a law that lets people use entertainment for education purpose. I feel like the copyright laws here need to have a review and flesh out some contents.

    • Juri

      I think it’s silly as hell. Mainstream artists rarely speak out against policies like these, so it was cool Utada did.

      I also saw the Anata ga Matteru PV drop, it’s the perfect winter ballad. Something about it reminded me of classic UNICORN…

    • Vin

      This is clearly a bid to get constant revenue for the big bosses. They target schools because they know they have no choice but to pay the copyright fees as it’s not so possible to teach without current music. Unless they are to conduct classes teaching classical music where copyrights have lapsed.

    • eplizo

      Hate when businesses try to mess with education like this to make a quick buck. It’s not cute. Good for her for speaking out.

    • Dayse

      This is so supressing…and we’re talking about education here (!!!), why the big fishes must be so greedy to not want to spare SCHOOLS? That’s sad.

      Regarding Hikaru speaking out…srsly, again this woman strikes, she never ceases to make me admire her more and more, gotta respect the girl.

    • Michele

      Could the industry get any greedier than that?

    • they are just after money.
      hit them and hit them hard!

    • lovehello

      Everyone knows artists make most of their money from concerts. For the JASRAC to go out of their way to make schools pay is just pure greed. More artists should speak out like this

    • Do-tell

      I’m absolutely against this nonsense. Why not let the artists decide for themselves if they wanna be assholes?

    • PigeonPop

      This reminds me of the whole CCCD fiasco years ago, and how Hikki back then was similarly the only big-name J-artist to really speak out against the practice. In a way she’s the only one that can do it too without any industry repercussion(s), as most successful acts are ultimately tied to avex/Burning/Amuse/Sony etc. that are more than happy to be part of the establishment.

    • Hikki love

      Nice one Hikki… Btw, her song is really good to be the teaching material though! Who can always write, arrange and sing his/her own song in Japan music industry?

      • seriously

        There ARE other musicians/artists beside her who do always write, arrange and sing their songs.

        You just don’t know them because so many of them are not mainstream / underrated. Even Kiryuuin Shou of Golden Bomber writes, composes, arranges (with tatsuo) AND sings all of Golden Bomber songs yet this is not known to many people because the general public only cares about Memeshikute and believes that the band NEVER plays live.

        ‘Japan music industry’ is not as bad as many people seem to believe. Just my two cents.

    • kat

      even in the USA some songs are like this…
      just to play one of the songs my brothers band had to pay every time they played it.