A dispute between Japan authors society JASRAC and Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store over royalty payments looks to be nearing a conclusion.

A dispute between Japan authors society JASRAC and Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store over royalty payments looks to be nearing a conclusion.

In June, Billboard reported that JASRAC was unable to process royalty payments from works sold on iTunes Japan due to "a lack of compatibility" between its database and that of iTunes in the United States.

JASRAC says a resolution is close. "We had negotiations with Apple last week and we have a kind of agreement to solve the problems," a JASRAC spokesman tells Billboard.biz. "If the agreement we discussed works, there will be no further problems."

The problem arose because JASRAC's database is in Japanese while iTunes' extensive catalog is in English. The JASRAC spokesman says the sheer size of the iTunes catalog was part of the problem.

"The basic problem is that they have a huge catalog with non-Japanese works, so we have to identify the rights owners that we have to pay from sales generated in Japan," he explains.

"With (Sony-led download service) Mora and other domestic distributors, the contents providers are all Japanese and they can access our database in Japanese and we can find out who the rights owners are."

JASRAC says it expects the backlog of payments to be addressed in the near future.