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Music schools tussle with Japan's copyright manager on fees

Lawsuit challenges group, claiming overzealous enforcement threatens education

Yamaha's music schools are a popular choice among Japanese parents.

TOKYO The Japanese word for music, ongaku, is written with a pair of Chinese characters. The first means "sound," the second, "fun." But there is nothing fun about a raging dispute between the country's dominant music copyright collective and a group of instrument makers and private music schools.

The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, or Jasrac, sparked the conflict when it announced last year that it would begin charging schools for the use of music under its management. Organizations and companies, including the Yamaha Music Foundation and Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing, which run such schools, decided to fight.

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