Against the Revised Bill for the Restriction of Imported Disk in Japan


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Against the revised bill for the restriction of imported disks in Japan

Since the beginning of April, 2004, the Japanese government has been discussing a revision to Article 113 of the Japanese Copyright Act. The proposed amendment to the current bill is in direct opposition to the interests of both consumers and artists. The revision would permit recording companies to place “import entitlements”, allowing them to restrict third parties from importing commercially available media (CDs, DVDs, etc.) into Japan.

The proposed revisions are being touted as protecting domestic industries and copyrights; in fact, they would be doing more harm than good, allowing the government and recording industry to enforce price restrictions potentially depriving consumers from proper market forces. Restricting free-market forces inevitably lowers the quality of a market from the perspective of a consumer.

The processes by which the bill's revision is being pushed through is also very problematic. There has been virtually no discussion with respect to the bill's effect on consumer benefits, and public opinion has been so far disregarded by the amendments' proponents.

Another questionable change since the original proposal has been a shift towards broader coverage. The first submission of the revised bill tried to curb only “back-flowed disks”, that is, domestic titles created by Japanese artists and licensed and manufactured outside Japan for foreign markets which were then imported into Japan and sold for less than domestic-only editions. However, recent reports reveal that the current proposal could restrict commercially imported disks of both domestic and foreign titles once a license for a domestic-edition has been established. This means a general restriction on virtually all imported disks, especially authorized editions made for the Japanese market.

Our efforts directly protest such a blanket revision that is clearly not in the interests of consumers and artists. We hope more individuals, both local and overseas, will recognize the problems this bill will inevitably invoke, and hope you will help us in spreading this cause.


Importation Right against Music CDs—Japan’s Cultural Autism (Working Paper 04-1-1)
Against the prohibition of imported disk (in Japanese language); (closed)
Created: 2004-04-10 / Last Update: 2004-04-10