If all songs distributed on the web were the devil's work, you can bet he'd be suing for copyright infringement...Yahoo Japan will offer free music downloads after signing a deal with a Japanese copyright society. The web portal has signed an agreement with the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) to distribute music from its website, according to a statement from Yahoo Japan. JASRAC, which controls music copyrights, will be paid an undisclosed sum for the rights. In addition, lyrics will be provided, said the statement. The copyright society controls 1.1 million Japanese-registered songs and 5 million overseas-registered songs - many of which will soon be offered on Yahoo Japan. Other reports say that the songs will be encoded to prevent copying but this could not be confirmed with the portal. Yahoo Japan said that over 90 per cent of Japanese web users visit one its sites at least once a month. It is unlikely that new and popular releases will be made available, and that the move by JASRAC is a means of generating income from older songs, say observers. The giveaway of songs as a method of driving traffic to a web portal marks another step made by the music industry to generate income in the midst of a multi-year sales slump. Piracy, illegal downloads and the lack of compelling artists has caused CD sales to shrink worldwide. Offering free music as a means of selling another product has been mentioned as one method of recouping revenue.