In Japan, the government plans to regulate cosplays

Discussions have been launched with these crazy costumes inspired by pop culture to achieve a fairer protection of rights holders.

A real phenomenon in Japan and around the world, cosplay may be subject to copyright in the future. Dressing up as a manga, cartoon or video game character can be a real financial windfall. The Japanese government thus wishes to help rights holders and protect them. Cosplay activity is ambiguous because it is not subject to legislation.

A professional cosplayer, followed by 1.4 million Instagram followers, Enako said she earns around $ 90,000 per month from the practice. Any occasion is good for her to appear publicly dressed as a cosplayer. Events, photo books and other related products are all ways of making a profitable business. If cosplay is valued in itself, by the technical prowess represented by a perfect disguise, it also consists in taking advantage of the work of others, when it represents a source of income.

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A post shared by えăȘこ(Enako) (@enakorin)

If the Japanese government intervened, as is discussed, getting paid for wearing a character costume would become copyright infringement. The line could then become thin between amateurism and professionalism, to the chagrin of enthusiasts. A photo posted on social networks could fall under copyright. In this case, it would be necessary to remunerate the beneficiaries of the licenses concerned by the use of the characters.

Shinji Inoue, Minister of Strategy for Cool Japan, auditioned some cosplay actors, including Enako. Some cosplayers would, according to Kyodo news, requested the establishment of a framework to contact the beneficiaries directly and obtain their authorization. To do this, Taro Yamada, a member of the research committee on intellectual property strategy of the ruling Liberal Democrat party, reportedly proposed to create a database to facilitate the identification of rights holders. “We need a framework to protect both (creators and cosplayers)“, He told Kyodo news.

While Shinji Inoue is planning to revise the commercial copyright rules for using character images, he still fears that tougher regulations will keep people away from cosplay. Awareness of copyright payment, through the example of professional cosplayers, should be given priority over restrictive copyright measures.

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