Quoting lyrics on Twitter may summon the JASRAC bogeyman

Quoting lyrics on Twitter may summon the JASRAC bogeyman

Japanese Twitter community is atwitter with speculation that music copyright collection agency JASRAC will start charging users for tweeting song lyrics
Twitter JASRAC
This is not an actual tweet from CNNGo in case you are wondering.

Niwango executive Tomohito Kinose -- one of the men behind the popular Nico Nico Douga video service -- set off an internet panic last week with a tweet from his personal account that plainly stated: "JASRAC's Director (Mitsuo) Sugawara: 'If you tweet lyrics on Twitter, it will incur JASRAC usage fees.'" (our translation). JASRAC, of course, is the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers.

With little information other than Kinose's original tweet, Twitter-happy Japanese youth suddenly worried that bills would appear in the mail every time they casually dropped a Kana Nishino lyric into their tweets.

J-Cast luckily dug a little deeper and has the full story of the tweet. On February 28, Sugawara did a live workshop on Nico Nico Douga where said that tweets are not just private banter but public and therefore touch upon copyright law. (Lyrics quoted in the context of research, analysis or criticism are exempt.) JASRAC is now looking at how to properly proceed with the issue.

Internet users have been extremely paranoid about JASRAC after the rights body in 2006 took 30,000 videos off of YouTube and prompted the arrest of a 73 year-old restaurant owner for singing the Beatles in his restaurant. Anti-JASRAC videos are a now staple of YouTube.

As we all wait to hear how JASRAC plans to charge Twitter users for quoting song lyrics, we should rest easy knowing that quoting a song title is completely fine. So it may be scary that JASRAC is "Here, There, and Everywhere" on the Internet, and some users may say, "Let It Be," but this kind of work is just "A Day in the Life" for JASRAC. Hopefully everyone can "Come Together" before JASRAC starts complaining "You Never Give Me Your Money."