Record companies in Japan are collectively getting rid of copy protection on the digital tracks they provide to download services, reports Nikkei. The DRM on songs from services like Mora impose limits on the number and kind of devices that can be used for playback, and the number of CDs they can be burned to. Reportedly, the decision to completely do away with DRM is backed by Victor (JVC), Avex Group, Warner Japan, and others, while EMI Japan and Universal Music will be taking a more measured approach — doing away with it a little at a time depending on the distribution service. Sony Music Entertainment is said to still be "considering" the switch.
The news follows the passing of a controversial revision to the country’s copyright law that criminalizes illegal downloading of music and movies. Japan's digital download market reportedly shrunk 16 percent between 2010 and 2011 — the second drop in a row — and the companies involved hope the change will stimulate the struggling music industry.