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30,000 videos forced off YouTube

Site responds to copyright complaints

YouTube has deleted close to 30,000 files after complaints from an organisation representing Japanese copyright holders.

JASRAC, the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, which collects royalty payments for musicians, submitted a list to YouTube of 29,549 files that it claimed infringed on the rights of 23 Japanese content companies.

The files are mostly entertainment and music TV programmes and were discovered during a five-day audit of the site that started on 2 October, said Masato Oikawa, a spokesman for the organisation in Tokyo.

The 23 companies that backed JASRAC include all of Japan's major TV networks, public broadcaster NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai), some regional and cable TV broadcasters, and other groups including the RIAJ (Recording Industry Association of Japan) and Yahoo Japan.

It's not the first time YouTube has been in the crosshairs of Japanese broadcasters. Earlier this year NHK asked the site to remove a clip of a children's song and said it would go after other files on the site.

YouTube has a lot of Japanese TV clips compared with those of other nations because of the strong cult following that Japanese pop culture has around the world.

It's also growing in popularity with Japanese users. The site posted massive growth in Japan between December 2005 and March this year, with the number of monthly users growing from 201,000 to 2.1 million, according to an estimate from NetRatings Japan in April.

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