Japan’s Recording Industry Is Putting Pressure on Apple to Crack Down on Unauthorized Music Apps

  • Save

Several Japanese music industry organizations and streaming providers are taking a hardline stance against unauthorized apps. They’re now asking Apple to do something about it.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan, the Japan Association of Music Enterprises, the Music Publishers Association of Japan, and the Federation of Music Producers are just four of the organizations on board.  Several streaming service providers in Japan are also part of the action, including AWA Co. Ltd., KKBOX Japan LLC, LINE MUSIC Corporation, and Rakuten Inc.

Each of these organizations banded together to submit a joint request on June 28th for Apple Inc. to “tighten control over unauthorized music apps.”

Unauthorized music apps are defined as those falling outside of the original intent of copyright and neighboring rights holders. That includes outright infringement, which is often the case, but it also covers loopholes in copyright law that major organizations deem ‘unauthorized’.

The protesting companies allege that the recent torrent of unauthorized music apps enables users to listen to music for free. Operators of these unauthorized apps then profit through advertising sales, while original rights-holders are not compensated. Unauthorized operators are committing copyright infringement and stealing profit, according to the complaint.

The RIAJ says explicitly that Apple’s takedown procedures for unauthorized apps are no longer sufficient.

The App Store frequently fails to follow through with takedown requests, and many apps are republished under new names. Given that these measures have failed, the organizations are now asking Apple for two concessions.

  1. Strengthen the review process before apps are registered and published, including contacting and working with RIAJ for apps suspected to be Unauthorized Music Apps
  2. Expedite takedowns upon the right owner’s request for apps that violate Apple Inc.’s Terms and Conditions

Basically, the RIAJ feels that Apple isn’t moving quickly enough to hinder the growth of these apps.  It also seems that the RIAJ wants a larger foot in the door when it comes to Apple’s app moderation policies — which is where things get tricky.