Industry groups push for 70 years duration.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) has joined a group of entertainment and arts organizations that plan to file a joint letter this September urging the Japanese government to extend the duration of copyright protection to 70 years after an artist’s death, from the current 50 years.

The protection period requested, which applies to copyrighted works of art such as music, literature, fine arts and photographs, means Japan will fall in line with Europe and the United States.

Industry-related groups such RIAJ, as well as authors’ society JASRAC, are asking the government to include the neighboring rights for recording artists and producers in the proposal, a RIAJ spokesman says. “The government will consider an extension of the copyright from 50 to 70 years," RIAJ’s Yoichiro Hata adds. “And we are supporting this move."

“The change is not certain yet, but the government has outlined a schedule for consideration by the Cultural Affairs Agency that sees deliberations concluding by the end of 2007. We hope that a conclusion can be reached by this time and that the neighboring rights are involved in it.”

If the Agency finishes its deliberations by the end of 2007, a bill could be presented to the Diet (parliament) in 2008 and the revised law could take effect from January 2009.

Currently, only producers of cinematographic works enjoy a 70-year protection following a change in the law