JASRAC Reinforces Use of Content ID With Latest YouTube Partnership

JASRAC said that this will help them properly distribute rights to music creators, music publishers, and other rights holders.

The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) has reached an agreement with YouTube to reinforce the use of YouTube’s digital fingerprinting system Content ID.

In a recent press release dated February 10, JASRAC said that this will help them properly distribute rights to music creators, music publishers, and other rights holders. At the moment, there are over 75 million JASRAC-managed songs available on YouTube.

プレスリリース - 日本音楽著作権協会(JASRAC)

Through the Content ID system, JASRAC will send out a “copyright strike” to a YouTube channel detected to have used a JASRAC-registered song. However, they noted that users don't necessarily need to delete the tagged video or set it to private. Instead, ads will now appear on the video, which allows the artist of said song to earn royalties from the use of said track.

JASRAC has been the subject of contention regarding its business strategy to gain dominance over music usage rights.

  • In 2009, JASRAC was the subject of a cease-and-desist order by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) in an attempt to put a stop to its blanket-fee system, where radio and TV stations are allowed unlimited use of JASRAC-managed music copyrights for a flat fee of 1.5% of the station’s annual broadcasting revenue.
  • In 2017, a petition was formed by several Japanese music schools, including the Yamaha Music Foundation, for JASRAC’s move to collect copyright fees within music schools.

Why Does It Matter?

A cornerstone of VTuber content is music production, whether they are original tracks or song covers. However, there is a large chunk of VTubers who go the song cover route, and covering majorly popular Japanese music, from anime tracks, J-pop artists, J-rock, Vocaloid, etc.

Fear of YouTube’s Content ID system has been the primary reason why most VTuber karaoke streams are unarchived, fearing that the platform’s automated system will tag their video for copyrighted content.

An example of such discussion regarding Content ID and a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) strike is this discussion from Mori Calliope, following the release of her album Sinderella, signed under Universal Music Japan.

In it, she addresses concerns regarding the possibility of anyone getting copyright-struck should they make a cover of her more recent songs under her Universal Music deal.

All of my previous works are fine [to use], they will stay how they are. Like Red, and everything from UnAlive and Your Mori and the Deadbeats EP. All of that stays the same. It’s only songs from now on,” she explained back then.