The battle between the music industry and Apple isn't confined solely to the United States. This article details the battle between Japan's music recording industry and the portable digital music player industry, of which Apple is the dominant player. By proposing a fee on the sale of such digital music players, the recording industry hopes to retrieve the revenue it claims to be losing as a result of the proliferation of music downloading onto digital music players.
The core issue here is intellectual property and it's nothing new for the recording companies to be crying foul over the way people obtain their music. The difference here is that the music industry is lobbying for what amounts to a tax on digital music players, with the revenue of that tax going to recording companies. This tax effectively makes the terms and conditions of listening to music more constrained. We've talked about how more liberal terms and conditions lead to greater growth in total market size. While a company's share of the market might decrease, the overall profit might increase because of the increase in total market size. So if the government intervenes in favor of the recording companies, that might result in a decrease of the total music industry market and cause recording companies' sales to decrease even further.
The additional fee proposed is relatively small (2% to 5%), so that may not slow down the public's appetite for digital music players at all. In that case, recording companies obviously stand to benefit from the additional revenue brought in by the proposed fee. Perhaps the recording industry feels it can do nothing in the way of typical competitive business practices and must resort to government intervention. In this way, the industry can have the best of both worlds. They need not worry as much about the downloading of music, while still increasing their revenues. Japan's government will clearly be bending over backward for the music industry if they give into this request. It's obviously in the best interest of consumers if the request goes unfulfilled.