Japan: Mandatory DRM Software In All Mobile Phones To Fight Music Piracy

13 Set/09

Japanese mobile phone developers, companies and the recording industry of Japan are in talks currently to agree on new anti-piracy measures to fight music piracy in Japan according to the Financial Times. The proposed solution offered by the recording industry suggest digital rights management to be build into every mobile phone sold in Japan. The software would query an Internet server (DRM server) whenever a user would try to play a song to check if the song was purchased legally. It would play if the return would be positive and otherwise refuse to play the song. The proposed system could be launched as early as 2011.

The mobile phone market in Japan is different from that of the rest of the world as Japanese mobile phone companies control the software on the mobile phones meaning it would be very unlikely that these measures, if agreed on, would be introduced in other markets as well.

The article fails to address several difficulties of such a system. The most important ones are the following:

  • What happens to songs that have been ripped from legally bought CDs? Won’t they be played at all? (this assumes that it is legal in Japan to rip CDs)
  • What happens if no connection is available currently? (Will it be possible to play songs without net connection?)
  • Who pays for the traffic that the song checks create?

Please post your opinions in the comments.

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