TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court on Thursday ruled in favor of the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) in a suit over royalty-free use of copyrighted songs in hostess clubs, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (June 26).
The court ordered three high-end hostess clubs located in the Ginza and Roppongi entertainment areas to pay 15.7 million yen in fines and cease live performances of piano versions of copyrighted songs.
Presiding judge Teruhisa Takano said that the music was a means for generating revenue. “The aim was to increase profits by using the performances to gather customers who prefer a club that creates a certain atmosphere,” said Takano.
The defendants maintained that there was no relationship between a club’s profitability and the performance of songs.
Each day a pianist in the clubs, each with a capacity of between 80 and 120 seats, played at least 10 jazz and pop songs administered by JASRAC.
Rates charged by the clubs averaged between 10,000 and 15,000 yen per hour.