Japanese Collection Society Wants To Charge You For Tweeting Lyrics
from the you-can't-be-serious dept
One of the earlier fun things on Twitter was the lyric of the day bot @lotd. Basically, if you sent a Twitter message to lotd, it would automatically repost the lyric for other lotd fans to read. Neat! But is it copyright infringement? Well… we’ve seen claims that lyrics online need to be licensed, and there have been a few discussions around whether or not you can copyright a tweet, but would anyone seriously try to collect royalties on Twittered lyrics?
Apparently the answer may be yes. Reader Anshar points us to a story claiming that Japan’s collection society JASRAC is putting together plans to collect royalties on Twittered lyrics. Honestly, the whole thing sounds so ridiculous that I’m hoping the original report is coming from the Japanese version of The Onion (please, someone tell me that’s the case). But this is JASRAC we’re talking about — which attacked YouTube quite early on for not stopping all copyrighted songs from appearing on the site.
According to the report, JASRAC said: “We want everyone to recognize that Internet is not your private place,” in defending the plan to charge royalties for such lyrical tweets. No, it’s not your private place, but that also means it’s not the industry’s private place to automatically demand the right to collect money any time anyone utters a snippet of a lyric. Japan’s copyright law is a lot less well developed than the US, and it doesn’t really have fair use within the law (notably, Japan has been a big supporter of ACTA).
Either way, if this story is true and not just some joke (please, please, tell me it’s a joke), it’s really quite ridiculous. People tweeting lyrics are not harming anyone by any stretch of the imagination. They’re fans. They’re encouraging more people to find out about a song or to remember an old song. They’re not taking away licensing rights or revenue or anything. They’re sharing lyrics, which is something JASRAC should be encouraging.