Taro Yamada explains the copyright issue regarding the cosplay phenomenon
After the news about the Japanese government’s intention to apply new copyright laws in the cosplay field, the undersecretary Taro Yamada appeared on Abema News to explain the implications that would arise from applying these laws.
According to Yamada some people are afraid that these laws can have negative consequences on cosplay and derivative works, and for this he reassured everyone by saying that he, as a member of the Liberal Party, will do everything to protect fan culture and that the rules will not be decided without consultation with all party members. The undersecretary then clarified the copyright laws currently in use in Japan:
“First of all, people sometimes don’t understand this passage very well, but whether or not something is commercial has no bearing on copyright. Copyright is simply an affirmation of what we call ‘personality rights’. On the other hand, the question revolves around how creators make money in the internet age. Some aspects of the current legal system are out of time with this digital age. […]
For example, if you were to create a Kamen Rider mask the same as it appears in the series and then sell it, there would be a legal precedent that would brand it illegal, but a personal cosplay would not be charged with copyright infringement.
If you created a clothing pattern like Demon Slayer’s Tanjiro, there wouldn’t be any copyright implications as that kind of clothing can be useful in general. But if you were to take a sword or belt and make them look exactly the same as they appear in the author’s original work, there would be a possibility of being charged with copyright infringement. This combination of things makes it difficult to set a limit. “
As an example, Yamada cited the scandal of MariCar, a case in which the court of intellectual rights found it difficult to define as copyright infringement. The company gave customers official Mario series costumes, and then uploaded photos of costumed customers to the internet for promotional purposes.
Popular cosplayer Haru Tachibana then asked Yamada about the legality distinction between selling a photobook and posting a photo on social media. Yamada responded by pointing out that this is also not very clear from a legal point of view. For example, if Tachibana posted a photo of her cosplay on Twitter without permission from the character creator, it could be seen as a broadcast violation, but such a violation would also exist if Tachibana had the creator’s permission, because retweets would circulate the photo.
In the latter case there would also be a violation regarding the diffusion of a person’s image. Inside Yamada’s party they are discussing regulations for cases in which the creator gives permission and then decides to ask for a fee for the use of his creation.
By global standards, Yamada considers Japan to be a fairly permissive country from a copyright standpoint, as the authorities only act if there are reports from the rights owners and because there are still gray areas in the legislature regarding streams. The Japanese legislature therefore sees copyright as something that is part of natural law and that does not have to be put down in black and white to be clearly understood.
Yamada then stressed that Japan is part of the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works, and therefore it cannot be the only country to change if the other members of the agreement do not do so too. With these circumstances the country simply wants to insure that the work of the creators be circulated appropriately. From the circulation of derivative works they would like the creators to earn something.
Finally, the undersecretary stated that if the government were to require everyone to ask for permission, people would start wondering who to contact to do so, and that if the government were to put all the authorizations in one group there would be debates on the division of the case. by chance.
What do you think of Yamada’s explanations and statements? Write us in the comments!
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