The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) has signed a mutual music copyright management deal with its South Korean counterpart, the Korea Music Copyright Association (KOMCA).

Under the pact, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2008, JASRAC will handle copyright management, including the collection and distribution of royalties, on behalf of KOMCA for KOMCA-managed songs in Japan.

KOMCA will perform a similar function on behalf of JASRAC in South Korea, also from Jan. 1, a JASRAC spokesperson tells

The spokesperson described the accord as "a comprehensive agreement, covering all forms of music use."

The agreement represents a milestone in Japan-Korean musical relations as all Japanese music was banned in South Korea until a decade ago. Seoul allowed Japanese musicians to perform in languages other than Japanese from June 27, 2000, and most restrictions on Japanese lyrics were finally lifted on Jan. 1, 2004. There are still restrictions on the broadcasting of Japanese music on terrestrial TV broadcasts, the JASRAC spokesperson noted.

As a result of the ban, a Japanese pop music black market flourished in South Korea. Despite the relaxation of restrictions, an agreement on copyright and royalty collection had not been finalized until the JASRAC/KOMCA deal, announced Monday.

"JASRAC and KOMCA had negotiated the deal over a long period, but could not reach agreement because Japan-South Korea relations often became tense due to such thorny issues as Japanese history textbooks and top Japanese political leaders' visits to Yasukuni Shrine," the spokesperson explained. "But the recent Korean culture boom in Japan made KOMCA aware of the need for a mutual copyright management deal with JASRAC, and we were finally able to conclude a deal."

Japan colonized South Korea in 1910 and ruled it with an iron grip until 1945 when World War II ended.