The answer, my friends, was just blowin’ in the winds of Twitter.
There has been a lot of talk in the past few weeks about the Japanese Society of Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) over reports that they were demanding money from Kyoto University.
The institute of higher learning had used some lines from Bob Dylan’s hit “Blowin’ in the Wind” that triggered the royalty request. However, afterward JASRAC announced that they deemed the use of lyrics as a quotation, and Kyoto University was not obliged to pay any money for publishing it on their website.
It is unclear whether this was a misunderstanding by the media or JASRAC, or whether JASRAC was simply back-peddling after a slew of negative feedback ran through the internet. Approval of JASRAC was already low over its decision earlier this year to start charging music schools royalties, thus restricting their abilities to teach kids cool music beyond “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Manga artist Yukie Mori who worked on Medaka No Gakko drew a short “ghost story” featuring the copyright society as a dark monster tormenting children who want to learn music.
▼ You don’t need to read Japanese to see the horror of the JASRAC eye.
(Click to enlarge.)
ＪＡＳＲＡＣを怪談風に描いてみたら思ったよりしっくりきてしまった。 私、今年は怪談漫画描いてみたいと思ってたけど 別にこういうのを描きたかったわけじゃない…とか思いつつ、 ネタを思いついたのでついノリで描きました。 ＃怪談… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
森ゆきえ＠めだかの学校２限目！発売中 (@medakanoyukie) May 20, 2017
So as we can see, people don’t really like JASRAC all that much, but now it seems someone on Twitter has devised a way to beat them at their own game. It may sound silly at first, but the more you think about it, the more you’ll realize how ingenious it really is.
▼ “Register a song called ‘JASRAC Song’ with JASRAC using their written warning as the lyrics. In a nutshell they’ll have to demand royalties from themselves infinitely.”
黒井羊太＠短編 (@kurohitsuji2015) May 27, 2017
Since JASRAC would be using those words with the intent to make money, they are clearly violating the songwriter’s copyright. And in issuing a warning letter to themselves they again violated the copyright. It’s an infinite loop which, as my troubled years working with C++ in university have taught me, will cause everything to come to a screeching halt.
Sure they could just change the wording of the letter, but that just means its “JASRAC Song (Remix)” time baby!
Netizens were impressed with the concept and heaped praise on its creator.
“I have witnessed genius.”
“Oh man, I want to try that!”
“This person is like Yugioh when he beat the guy who used a Slifer the Sky Dragon with a Revival Jam and Infinite Card combo.”
“Awesome, we shall call this theorem the JASRAC Paradox.”
Someone even came close to finding an actual JASRAC song. A tune titled “Zessho Karaoke Man No Uta” was released by Masayuki Yamamoto who worked on the anime Time Bokan: Royal Revival. It stops short of using any of JASRAC’s words in the song, but sings their praises by spelling their name followed by: “JASRAC Protect Copyrights!”
▼ Needless to say, it’s a weird song.
So the stage is set, someone just needs to take that first step and register the JASRAC song that will undo copyright enforcement in Japan as we know it. It will need to be someone big in Japan for this to work though. And come to think of it, Piko Taro‘s probably looking for a way back into the spotlight right about now….