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Wider Music Community: Fines for those who download music debated in Japan

Oct 20, 2012
All over the world people listen to music, make new bands and want to discover new music. They sell music online as they learn how to promote a band. The trouble is, most of the audio samples are illegal download music and this is causing a terrible crisis in the music distribution industry. It is important for the music community not just to concentrate on what's going on in our spheres of music distribution. We must also understand what the wider music community is doing. It's important that the music community take responsibility for music distribution. We need to take charge. We need to buy and sell music online so there can even be a music distribution industry. How can musicians eat if they aren't paid for their work? Even when they sell music online it gets plagiarized. It's a very difficult situation. So what can the music community do?! Japan's music community has been debating this in recent weeks. Japan's recording industry strongly backs criminal treatment of those who download music illegally, while lawyers and media say it may be too harsh to punish people for pirating audio samples. A revision to Japan's copyright law to impose criminal penalties on those who illegally download music and movies has sparked debate in the country over how to manage the rapidly changing music distribution industry. We all love to listen to music, discover new bands and share new music. But we as a music community need to be wary of the danger to the new bands and new music if we download music illegally. Music distribution is an industry like all the others. Why do we think it's different for musicians? They want to sell music online so that they can make money to live. Should we punish them for doing something they love rather than just working in offices like everyone else. Maybe we're just jealousÉ On Wednesday, says one article, Japan's parliament passed a measure to revise the law so that to download music illegally is a criminal activity, punishable by up to two years in jail or a fine of up to ´2 million (US$25,000). The revisions will go into effect from October. Currently violations are considered a civil matter. The drastic increase in punishment for what could be as little as a single track of download music was highlighted in the Japanese media. The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest newspaper, ran an article about the law Thursday with a headline that read "Even one click is now a crime?" While online streaming and download music services like Hulu and iTunes are popular in Japan, sales and rentals of physical CDs and DVDs are still common. Years after U.S. video rental firms like Blockbuster went bankrupt, Japanese equivalents like Tsutaya are still widely used. The Recording and music distribution Industries of Japan, a powerful new music trade group, immediately applauded the new measure, and said it would work to inform people of the new penalties. "This revision will reduce the spread of copyright infringement activities on the Internet," said Chairman Naoki Kitagawa, who is also the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Japan. But the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, a widely respected legal group, said that the law treating downloads as a civil matter, which was adopted in 2009, should have been given more time for its effectiveness to be judged. "Treating personal activities with criminal punishments must be done very cautiously, and the property damage caused by individual people who download music illegally is highly insignificant," the group said in a statement. A study published by the Recording Industry of Japan found that in 2010 about 4.36 billion files of download music were taken illegally, about ten times the 440 million files that were paid for. The study found that in Japan, dedicated video download sites are far more popular than peer-to-peer software, which can be harder to trace. We as the music community should understand that new bands cannot be made if we continue to download music illegally. The new music will simply not be made if the artists can't sell music online. The music distribution industry will be killed along with the creativity. The time is now, music community, to stand up and do something about it so that new bands will be able to have a future. They will also need to learn how to promote a band in the age of audio samples, though! It's not just about sticking with the status quo. To sell music online in this day and age is the only way to make any money. People are not buying CDs anymore. But how do we stop people from stealing download music? Music websites like Songeist.com are doing their part to win the war on illegal audio samples. Now, music community, what are you going to do?
About the Author
John Robert write for music community and bands for more information on music distribution, new bands, new music and audio samples please visit songeist.com.
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