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Japan Announces Plans For a National Rights Database

The country hopes to have a national rights database in place for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

While calls for transparency in the music industry continue to rumble around the globe, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is rising to the occasion by announcing plans for a national rights database covering music, films, animation and other Japanese-made intellectual property.

According to a Variety report, the Ministry plans to put things in motion by choosing a contractor to build the database by March 2016 with the goal of having it in place for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. The database will be available in several languages and will offer content for licensing around the world.

As in many countries, Japan has a complicated rights network which often results in multiple companies funding a production and thus divvying up royalties and profits, necessitating the national database. And while the country is ahead of the curve in initiating this process, it’s following a concrete trend that’s developed in the past year. 


In June, independent publisher Kobalt announced the creation of what they called the world’s first global digital collections society, touting the new society’s “total transparency.” Last week, Spotify announced its intention to “build a comprehensive publishing administration system” of their own amid claims that the company owes anywhere between $17 million and $25 million to publishers and songwriters in the U.S. In a blog post announcing the new system, Spotify’s global head of publisher relations James Duffett-Smith said the company is working with the NMPA on a solution, noting that it will take “significant time and effort” to build.