Is the lack of movie rentals and television shows on the Japanese iTunes Store due somehow to the powerful copyright lobby in Japan? JASRAC and JIMCAare more litigious than even the RIAA and MPAA in the US. Furthermore they are linked via Iron Triangle to MEXT. Moreover, Japan’s television industry is still mostly terrestrial, and not likely to make the move to the internet for some time. Non-broadcast distribution models seem far in the future for Japan. Does video from the iTunes Store even have a chance here?
The iTunes store is currently available in 77 countries, but most only offer music downloads. I think the recent explosion in iTunes Stores around the world can be attributed to the iPhone, which is available in 88 countries. According to this support article (last updated June 25, 2009) for the Apple TV, only six countries offer movie purchasing and rental:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
Television programs can be purchased in France.
Conclusion: The lack of television and movies on the Japanese iTunes Store is by far the norm when compared to the rest of the world. However, those who are looking to scapegoat the copyright lobby should be interested to know that Japan is the only country where (some) record labels retain DRM on their iTunes Store products (iTunes went non-DRM in January of this year).