Rights fee fight delays dubbing recorders

Japan's Dubbing 10 system 'postponed indefinitely'

TOKYO -- The release of new Japanese recording hardware that would allow up to 10 copies of digital TV broadcasts to be made simultaneously has been postponed as manufacturers and content copyright holders continue a battle over copyright fees.

The Dubbing 10 system, which was due to hit the market June 2, has been "postponed indefinitely," sources at the Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs said Tuesday.

The sticking point is the fee that digital recorder makers such as Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba were expected to add to the price of their hardware and then pass on to content copyright holders.

Japan's current law allows only one digital copy of a TV broadcast. A replacement law was announced in December following lengthy negotiations between manufacturers, broadcasters and copyright groups.

After the replacement law was unveiled, Sony announced plans for Dubbing 10 DVD and Blu-ray recorders, and Panasonic and Toshiba announced software upgrades for "copy once" machines.

The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, which collected 111 billion yen ($1 billion) in copyright fees last year, has called a press conference for Thursday, when an official announcement is expected to be made.