Japan sets new plan for old series


TOKYO -- In a bid to earn more from the nation's television shows past and present, the Japanese government is planning to create a centralized content trading market to make it easier for companies to sell their programs abroad.

Existing copyright laws make it difficult for a company that wants to rebroadcast a show because dozens of people involved with the program -- from individual actors and actresses to scriptwriters, directors and producers -- must give their consent for the rights to be sold.

Under the new system, a new organization will be set up to collate information about programs available for resale and to help smooth the purchase of titles by other broadcasters, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication said Monday.

Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga will put the proposal before a committee of the Information and Communication Council on Tuesday, and the new law to create the organization could be passed by the Japanese parliament next year.

According to the ministry, the market will involve an Internet database of information on titles that are available for purchase. The changes are expected to earn millions of yen in royalties for content providers here because many Japanese shows -- particularly animated programs -- are popular overseas.

In 2005, the content market earned Japanese companies ¥11.29 trillion ($11 billion) in 2005, and the ministry has set a target of raising this to ¥16 trillion in the next decade. The resale of titles accounts for about 30% of the total, according to the ministry.