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The Law of Anime Part IV: New Laws to Watch Out For


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Sakura Shinguji



Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 130
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:40 pm Reply with quote
I believe it's worth clarifying that, should that lower court ruling be upheld in regard to the First Sale Doctrine, the ability of individuals to import products directly from Japan for themselves will also not be affected. You wouldn't be able to buy a figure from a con vendor (nor would that vendor be allowed to sell that figure in the first place), but you could still go online and purchase it directly from any number of Japanese online retailers that ship internationally, because that would not be a domestic resale situation.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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Location: currently stalking my waifu
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:14 pm Reply with quote
I'm really glad this got another part to it.

I hate the idea of only purchasing the rights to use something, a digital license rather than actual ownership. I want to hold the game or whatever product in my grubby (figuratively-speaking) hands and actually do what I want with it, not what I'm allowed to do with it. I want to be able to tinker with it, improve it, install mods and change it. I don't want to be bound to some ultra-restrictive license which I have no control over and which could change in the future. It's why I won't buy the new SimCity game because I want to own the game rather than essentially renting it.

With regards to Anime, I refuse to watch it over any legal stream or online subscription service. It's either a legally-purchased disc that I own (and can resell) with the bare minimum of DRM (if there's any at all), or it's fansub/Horriblesubs time. I know companies have to make a profit but I sure as heck aren't going to rent a title. No thank you.

I hope the European Union initiative catches on.
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superdry



Joined: 07 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:30 pm Reply with quote
Sakura Shinguji wrote:
I believe it's worth clarifying that, should that lower court ruling be upheld in regard to the First Sale Doctrine, the ability of individuals to import products directly from Japan for themselves will also not be affected. You wouldn't be able to buy a figure from a con vendor (nor would that vendor be allowed to sell that figure in the first place), but you could still go online and purchase it directly from any number of Japanese online retailers that ship internationally, because that would not be a domestic resale situation.


But, that would kill businesses that deal with imports (assuming enforcement). That's just not cool especially if you're selling stuff that is not even licensed for sale in the US like video games.

Also, for people who do import stuff and want to sell it for any multitude of reasons would also be illegal. That's silly.
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Tisiphone1
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:03 pm Reply with quote
Thanks again to you, Mr. Thordsen, for taking the time to do this series.

I expect to reference other people to these articles often in the future and hope, given an applicable subject, that we might be fortunate enough to learn from you again.

Also, if I may say so, I think your avatar is positively perfect.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 7382
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:34 am Reply with quote
Quote:
The businesses that sell these products at anime conventions could no longer have the right to resell the items they purchased should the Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling as the items are not manufactured here and additionally, the rights to the product aren't even held by any local company.

If there is no local company holding the rights, who has standing to bring suit against these resellers at Cons? I can't imagine the Japanese rights holders suing them, since they've made the sale already, and probably wouldn't have otherwise. They'd be shooting themselves in the foot, and it would be expensive just to fire the gun.

It doesn't seem like this ruling would even apply, since the lawsuit is over a product produced here, but with rights held here, i.e., a situation where the same product is sold domestically by the rights holder, even though they had it manufactured overseas. The con resellers are selling a product where neither the manufacture nor rights are domestic.

Quote:
When a DVD, software or generally any piece of media is purchased it is purchased subject to a licensing agreement. These are often listed in the terms of service included in the package, on the box or somewhere within the software.

I have never seen any such licensing agreement on or in a dvd. Where would I look for such a thing? Also, if such exists, aren't the ads for movies that routinely say, "Own it on dvd or Blu-Ray today!" false advertising?

Btw, I can see how the Japanese companies would be tired of people not purchasing their dvds, but digital download of anime has only been around for a few years. How can they be weary already?
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Blanchimont



Joined: 25 Feb 2012
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Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:55 am Reply with quote
Even in the very unlikely event the lower court ruling would be upheld, I can't imagine the Japanese publishers taking any action against non-Japanese retailers selling authentic imported anime/merch.

For one, unlike the case at issue, the prices are higher, or at least equal in worst case(aniplex), so enforcing would not be in their favor. I suppose there shouldn't be any worries for manga either, even though in that case the Japanese releases are usually cheaper. The producers themselves seem to encourage the practice somewhat with certain incentives, like subtitles, and non-region coded discs.

It might become an issue for imported games/visual novels/eroges, and doujins, due to some xenophopic tendencies by Japanese companies/artists(Minori in particular comes to mind). And their fear how it might affect perception/attention of their products overseas, and how that in turn could indirectly affect the climate for their products in Japan itself.

Quote:
However, copying the purchased media, even for personal use is in fact illegal. Courts have repeatedly held that there is no universal right to copy a purchased DVD or game for personal use, even as a backup copy. Additionally, making the copy is a blatant violation of the DMCA as it requires circumventing the copyright protection put in place by the copyright holder. For each of these things a person may be held liable for copyright infringement merely by making a backup copy of a DVD they actually paid for.

My take is that if a law is sufficiently out-of-date and/or ridiculous, I'm blind to it. Unless my drives get seized for some off reason not likely to pose any effect if even then...
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LavenderMintRose



Joined: 30 Nov 2012
Posts: 168
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:32 pm Reply with quote
re: license agreements: Look at it this way.

You buy a book. A paper book, with the words on the pages. You are buying this item, the bound paper with ink, as a vehicle to the experience of reading the words made from the ink on the pages (or the pictures, etc.). Whenever you buy any piece of media at all, ever, this is all that you are buying.
There are newer ways of getting the piece of media to you for you to read it - CDs, DVDs, etc. With these, (and with earlier forms, like cassette tapes), you are physically and technologically able to copy and edit the media you get on those tapes, but this was never part of the license you bought. You were never allowed to do that.
The issue is that for decades people have thought of a media license as owning a thing just like you'd own a mug or a chair, and that had never been a problem because it wasn't easy or practical for most people to violate that license. Most people with the resources to do so probably understood the whole thing in the first place. And now that erroneous belief has been around long enough that people can't get over it, I guess.
This is also the cause of the whole, "oh, they're not losing anything when you download a copy, because you don't a physical item." Really, the physical book or disc that you hold in your hand is less of the actual product, and more like the shelf in the store that the product is displayed on. What the product is is the right to view the material - sort of like going to a movie theater.
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Mune



Joined: 20 May 2004
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Location: Kansas
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:34 pm Reply with quote
If it were to pass that the secondary market cannot sell items that are from Japan.

Example: I buy a box of Weiss Schwarz cards from a company in Japan. I cannot resell them in the United States.

This would kill ebay auctions from the United States for anime related goods and direct from Japan sites and ebay sellers from Japan would indeed make a large profit. But the extra shipping always would be a pain.
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Melicans



Joined: 01 Feb 2012
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:04 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:

I have never seen any such licensing agreement on or in a dvd. Where would I look for such a thing?


I believe that is the "WARNING" screen that appears for 5 seconds or so prior to the menu loading. Here in Canada it is always followed by an "ATTENTION" for the Francophiles, so it's a bit more of a noticeable delay. Of course most people, preferring to go the main menu directly to play the DVD, simply skip the previews (and as a result this static screen) and so miss it.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:48 pm Reply with quote
Telling me something is illegal isn't an agreement, it's a warning, and it's labeled as such.
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victor viper



Joined: 18 Jun 2011
Posts: 630
Location: The deep south
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:04 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Specifically, Kirtsaeng involves the resale of copyrighted items that are imported from another country but were not released locally. The defendant in the case was a United States citizen whose family (living in Asia) purchased text books, sent them to their son who resold them in the United States making a sizable profit in the process. These same books were already being sold in the United States by another publisher who sued Kirtsaeng claiming that the First Sale Doctrine does not apply to items that are manufactured outside the United States.


I'm certainly not an attorney, but I have to wonder if the Kirtseang case really puts the first sale doctrine to the test. Books (textbooks in particular) can be a very tricky area. For example, there are places in the world (the USSR was a great example) where intellectual property rights do not exist, and textbooks get pirated, sanctioned by governments. Presumably, the resale of such books wouldn't be protected by the first sale doctrine since there literally was no first (authorized) sale to begin with. In other cases, US publishers sometimes authorize the sale of textbooks at greatly reduced prices outside the US, and unscrupulous people will attempt to resell these books in the US, even though there are notations all over the book of the form "for sale in (country) only". Again, this wouldn't be a first sale issue.

In any event, I hope the court treads carefully here. As a Libertarian, I believe that the doctrine of first sale is right up there when it comes to individual rights around which to step lightly. After all, there are very few rights that aren't property rights.
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Fencedude5609



Joined: 09 Nov 2006
Posts: 5087
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:25 pm Reply with quote
victor viper wrote:
After all, there are very few rights that aren't property rights.


Ahahahahahaha.

Oh wait, you're serious?
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potatochobit
Lind TrusteeLind Trustee


Joined: 26 Aug 2009
Posts: 1367
Location: TEXAS
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:52 am Reply with quote
Licensing restrictions have always been in place
do you see funimation selling cheap anime in japan?

this is not a new law and it is being twisted into something it is not.
he is attempting to be an unlicensed dsitributor.
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victor viper



Joined: 18 Jun 2011
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Location: The deep south
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:00 am Reply with quote
Fencedude5609 wrote:

Oh wait, you're serious?


As was James Madison and his contemporaries. The triple "life, liberty, and property" isn't a random phrase. Madison and company were well aware that infringing too much on one of those items will cause the other two to quickly disappear.
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Fencedude5609



Joined: 09 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:12 am Reply with quote
victor viper wrote:
Fencedude5609 wrote:

Oh wait, you're serious?


As was James Madison and his contemporaries. The triple "life, liberty, and property" isn't a random phrase. Madison and company were well aware that infringing too much on one of those items will cause the other two to quickly disappear.


...this is funny. For a very large number of reasons.

Are you aware of the status of property rights in late-18th/early-19th century America?
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