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The Law of Anime Part I: Copyright and the Anime Fan


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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 2090

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:04 pm Reply with quote
Does performances also include covers of songs from anime? For example if I posted a video of myself playing a background song from the OST on guitar on youtube, does that infringe?
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Nemo of Mentis



Joined: 26 Jul 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:14 pm Reply with quote
Thank you very much for writing these article, Mr. Thordsen. I had a basic grasp of copyright law before, but this is definitely broadening my understanding. Waiting warmly for the next part.
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omoikane



Joined: 03 Oct 2005
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Hmmmm

There are a lot of stuff that could be worded better? Like, "common law copyright." I understand the benefit of registration but aren't you still entitled to all the other remedies in the federal law besides the statutory $ penalties? Like, for instance, confiscation of copyright-infringing material. Would you still file a claim for common law copyright infringement in order to get that remedy if you didn't register? I mean as a practical matter if you want to get monetary remedies, obviously, but seems like a lot of legalese that just confuses more than it enlightens.

I don't have the time to go over this article with a fine point pen but in general it should give everyone a good idea how it works in practice. Just don't read too deep into it, since some of this stuff is pretty context sensitive and we don't have all of it.
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giapet
Industry Insider


Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 203
Location: Denton, TX

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:21 pm Reply with quote
Best new column? Best new column.
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Divineking



Joined: 03 Jul 2010
Posts: 1068

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:24 pm Reply with quote
Very interesting an informative article. Though it's only a matter of time before someone comes in questioning what's written here Laughing

I was unsurprised that Doujinshi and AMV's technically violate copyright, but it was kind of odd to see Cosplay is considered a violation as well, though it does make sense when you think about it. Also not surprised to see that there is some level of protection for unlicensed titles in the US, though obviously no one seems to have enough stake in that kind of scenario to crack down on fansubbers on a regular basis.

I look forward to reading more.
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partysmores



Joined: 23 Oct 2011
Posts: 284

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:36 pm Reply with quote
Wait...if Viz doesn't have the rights to the Tiger & Bunny action figures, how were they able to have a contest for them in the March 2012 Shonen Jump?
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Hawkwing



Joined: 24 Apr 2011
Posts: 289
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:38 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
Does performances also include covers of songs from anime? For example if I posted a video of myself playing a background song from the OST on guitar on youtube, does that infringe?


Depends on where you live, but it's illegal in most places. I personally think it's ridiculous to legislate laws like this.
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Nemo of Mentis



Joined: 26 Jul 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:38 pm Reply with quote
Divineking wrote:
Very interesting an informative article. Though it's only a matter of time before someone comes in questioning what's written here :lol:

Heh, probably. The law is a pretty concrete thing though, and I'm not sure how anyone could really see it as otherwise, so maybe everyone will recognize that. Maybe. The only thing up for question is ethicality, and ethicality is the thing that has already been discussed to death in the years previous.

Actually, maybe there is still work to be done here. People have so much personal stock in the debate that debates on the ethics of intellectual property don't tend to end up looking much like anything you'd see in an academic journal. I certainly haven't read anything philosophically substantive coming from those debates, personally. A full and logically rigorous examination of the matter might yield something or other.

The ANN forums don't seem like a very good place for that sort of thing though.


Last edited by Nemo of Mentis on Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:47 pm; edited 8 times in total
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Divineking



Joined: 03 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:39 pm Reply with quote
partysmores wrote:
Wait...if Viz doesn't have the rights to the Tiger & Bunny action figures, how were they able to have a contest for them in the March 2012 Shonen Jump?


They seperately purchased merchandising rights for the show, back when it was still airing if I recall. Either the author of the article didn't know that, or he was just using that as an example.
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HitokiriShadow



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 6142

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:44 pm Reply with quote
partysmores wrote:
Wait...if Viz doesn't have the rights to the Tiger & Bunny action figures, how were they able to have a contest for them in the March 2012 Shonen Jump?


They must have gotten some sort of permission to do that. The article was talking about how things generally work and I believe everything used was just a theoretical example since he's not privy to the actual contracts (and couldn't talk about them if he was). Contest prizes might work differently than actually selling the figures, if that's all they were doing. Perhaps there are special clauses or laws for promotions and promotional giveaways. Whatever it was, they almost certainly had some sort of contractual right to do it.
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S.Thordsen



Joined: 15 Feb 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Santa Ana, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:00 pm Reply with quote
Hello,

Glad to see you found the article informative, I already had an account on the ANN forums but made this one as a separate account for the sake of simplicity.

To answer a few questions real fast

The articles were written to give a brief overview and understanding of the concepts. By no means are they all encompassing and, much like anything legal, are highly dependent on the facts so what I've written won't apply in all scenarios.

Divineking wrote:
partysmores wrote:
Wait...if Viz doesn't have the rights to the Tiger & Bunny action figures, how were they able to have a contest for them in the March 2012 Shonen Jump?


They seperately purchased merchandising rights for the show, back when it was still airing if I recall. Either the author of the article didn't know that, or he was just using that as an example.


Tiger & Bunny was used by way of example. When coming up with examples I found it more efficient to use current series rather than delving into the back catalogue of shows whose merchandise was never released here. Some of my examples were chosen based on what was available to me at the time, Tiger & Bunny, being relatively current and happening to have a Lunatic figure on my desk with merchendise currently on the market was easier than using, for example, Giant Robo from more than a decade ago whose merchendise is rare.

Nemo of Mentis wrote:
Actually, maybe there is still work to be done here. People have so much personal stock in the debate that debates on the ethics of intellectual property don't tend to end up looking much like anything you'd see in an academic journal. I certainly haven't read anything philosophically substantive coming from those debates, personally. A full and logically rigorous examination of the matter might yield something or other.


This matter has been constantly debated by intellectual property attorneys for several years. General consensus is that most intellectual property laws are out of date and/or are in need of reform for several reasons. One of which is the fact that a lot of the laws didn't properly account for advancements in technology (most notably the internet). Other problems lie in the balance of the purpose of the law. Intellectual property law was originally designed to strike a balance between allowing someone to profit from their creation whilst also later allowing that creation to benefit the public by spurring on more creation. Over time the law has swayed more in favor of the former of those rather than the latter (look no further than the length of a copyright as an example of this).

The difficult part of the reform is that trying to protect it now when the laws are out of date means causing ire when changes in the law look like or are too restrictive (SOPA and PIPA immediately come to mind).

Kougeru wrote:
Does performances also include covers of songs from anime? For example if I posted a video of myself playing a background song from the OST on guitar on youtube, does that infringe?


To avoid any potential problems I'm not going to get into the specifics of this but covers have their own specific rules and laws. Just so you are clear, songs have two copyrights - the performance and the composition. In covering an album the second copyright becomes a problem and generally a license is required. (Again though, with anime there are international treaties to be aware of). A very good example where a cover can go wrong actually is the recent Glee episode that used a composition from Jonathan Coulton's cover of "Baby Got Back." Fox has taken the position that Coulton has no copyright since it's a cover whereas Coulton maintains he has a copyright in his particular composition of it. What I'm getting at is that cover's can easily run afoul with a composition copyright but it's a very tricky business.


Last edited by S.Thordsen on Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 2090

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:05 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for replying to that. I guess I'll just do what I can and if it gets removed by youtube, I'll accept that.
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lossthief



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:24 pm Reply with quote
Very interesting pair of articles. In pretty much any fandom with a large online community, copyright laws always seem to come up in some fashion, and whenever that happens there's usually a lot of misinformed people giving wildly different explanations. Thankfully, Mr. Thordsen obviously knows what he's talking about and has the background to back it up.

Very much looking forward to more installments, so keep up the good work.
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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Posts: 2032

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:47 pm Reply with quote
Wow, it's almost like they're saying we should never cosplay again.
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HitokiriShadow



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 6142

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:58 pm Reply with quote
belvadeer wrote:
Wow, it's almost like they're saying we should never cosplay again.


The article is telling you what the law is, not what you should or shouldn't do. It also said that companies basically never pursue cosplay-related copyright infringement.
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