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Economy

Japan to help ASEAN states toughen copyright protection

TOKYO -- Japan will work with key ASEAN members to develop copyright protection frameworks, hoping to rein in perpetual piracy in those markets.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs seeks to help each nation create a powerful organization on copyright management -- similar to the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, or JASRAC. The agency will invite government officials from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia to Japan annually for a training program and send more experts from Japan. Training will include helping the nations create effective regulations.

Hiroyuki Yoshiie, Japan's senior vice minister for culture and science, will announce these initiatives when culture ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meet Thursday in Brunei. The Japanese ministry will request funding for the effort in its budget proposal for next fiscal year.

In fiscal 2015, payments for music-related copyrights from other Asian markets to Japan reached a record 140 million yen ($1.4 million), according to JASRAC. Hong Kong and South Korea accounted for sizable chunks of the total. ASEAN members' payments were less than 20 million yen.

People in ASEAN states are increasingly interested in Japanese creative products including anime and music. But lack of awareness of copyrights seems to lie behind rampant piracy.

The agency had earlier focused on training to crack down on illegal distribution of material. Even though Thailand and Vietnam have copyright management organizations, the absence of relevant law has made it difficult to enforce the rules.

(Nikkei)

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