Japan explains its new copyright law for cosplay

This 2021 has started with Japan reviewing its copyright laws, which affects many creators of fan content. Specifically, this is how it will affect cosplayers.

A few weeks ago the news broke that Japan plans to toughen its copyright laws, which quickly put the community of fan content creators on edge as these new measures could also affect artists who make fanart or cosplay of your favorite characters. Although at one time it was thought that the alleged demands of the Shueisha against certain fanartists were an immediate consequence of these laws, many nuances are still unknown in this regard and now from Japan they clarify how the new measures will affect cosplayers.

From Cool Japan, a marketing project of the Japanese government dedicated to promoting the country’s pop culture abroad, they have already been in charge of calming the spirits of possible affected fans. Shinji Inuoe, the minister in charge of the initiative, has stated that the government plans to review commercial copyright laws by the end of March, when the fiscal year ends.

“To continue promoting cosplay culture, it is important to have an environment where people can feel safe and have fun,” Inoue said. The minister also explained that the government will not review certain specific points, as it fears that stricter measures will lead people to completely abandon cosplay. Instead, the government plans to give a few concrete examples of situations where cosplayers would have to pay copyright fees for characters.


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A concrete example that has been given to clarify is that simply dressing or characterizing yourself as a character does not infringe copyright, but the problem would come if the cosplayer is paid for a public appearance, such as at an event.

Meanwhile, many cosplayers have asked for a time frame to be able to contact the original copyright holders to request permission individually, and it has even been proposed to create a database so that fans can identify the owners quickly and know who who to address.

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