JASRAC wins video-sharing case

Just Online ordered to pay $1 mil in damages

TOKYO -- The Japanese authors' and composers' society JASRAC has won a lawsuit against a Tokyo-based video-sharing site.

In its ruling, the Tokyo District Court ordered Just Online, the operator of the video-sharing site TV Break, to halt distribution of files that contained JASRAC repertoire. The court ordered Just Online and its CEO, Yoshihide Imasaki, to jointly pay 90 million yen ($1 million) in compensation for the damages from copyright infringement.

JASRAC filed the suit on Aug. 6, 2008 seeking to stop the company from allowing users to access files with its repertoire and requesting 120 million yen ($1.35 million) in damages.

The society noted that the court recognized that "the nature of the service in question is highly probable of copyright infringement." JASRAC added that by its calculation of files that contained the society's members' repertoire on TV Break, 49.51% were in copyright violation.

In a further statement, JASRAC said, "Among various video posting Web sites, many site operators are seeking legitimate business models by voluntarily removing infringing videos. These operators have been obtaining prior consent of right owners to legally distribute videos in order to prevent infringing activities from occurring."

It added, "Just Online, however, has failed to take such measures, and is thus leaving illegal video files unattended and running the site in an irresponsible way. As a result, many illegal video files have been uploaded to the TV Break site."

JASRAC notes there are about 60 video-sharing Web sites in Japan and 25 of them have properly arranged license agreements for the usage of the society's repertoire. Most of the remaining sites delete files which include JASRAC repertoire.