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Broccoli Warns Against Uta-Pri Doujin Goods

posted on by Eric Stimson
Fans react with defiance

The visual novel and anime series Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love 1000% has a large fanbase and a correspondingly thriving doujin community. Broccoli, the games' publisher, has requested these groups to cease and desist since 2012. At first it focused on the circulation of sound files, but last June it began warning about all manner of 2-D goods. The fans simply withdrew from public view and continued making their goods. What's more, Broccoli has clarified that it will accept goods not made for profit, but the huge demand for Uta no Prince Sama products means that the doujin goods are often sold.

This month, Broccoli has escalated its warnings. It posted the following tweet on various doujin's Twitter feeds:

This is the Broccoli Executive Department. In order to protect our rights, we request that you immediately terminate distribution related to our property. If you do not comply, please understand that we will search for appropriate measures according to the law.

@lune_de_minuit_ had earlier written:

Copyright ...... Broccoli had copyright? Over Saotome Academy [the setting of Uta no Prince Sama]? Am I reading that right? I think that if we talk about copyright or whatever, our hands will be tied and we won't be able to make anything. Neither the main story nor the 2-D goods will develop. Why do they think Comiket exists? Please accept my opinion as an individual.

As a reaction to Broccoli's cease and desist threats, @lune_de_minuit_ followed up with this tweet:

I didn't receive this, but...... I'm scared...... Hmmm. Should I stop making [merchandise]?...... No. I can't lose to Broccoli. We're a not-for-profit group, aren't we? If Broccoli won't make it, there are people who will. If 2-D stops, there'll be an effect on 1-D as well...... is what I said.

@Alice_room_, one of the targets of Broccoli's threats, simply closed the account and opened another one, @up_showtime, and tweeted an advertisement for Uta no Prince Sama-themed goods.

On the other hand, fan reaction to this sort of defiance was also negative. @mako0079 wrote that it was "amazing to say that this isn't the copyright holders' business." @mekara_uroko opined that "the notion that doujin are things you do stealthily is getting too weak. Publicly calling for understanding doujin is like Vocaloid." @xgregory1974x wrote in response, "My understanding is that if you get an official warning about your 2-D doujin, you quickly prostrate yourself. [@lune_de_minuit_'s tweet] is beyond my comprehension."

In general, while doujin works technically constitute copyright violations, in practice they are overlooked by the copyright holders for various reasons, including the added exposure they bring to the original work and their utility as creativity incubators. In this case, however, Uta no Prince Sama doujin is too prolific and too similar to official merchandise for Broccoli's comfort. The doujin market has grown to the extent that it is eating into Broccoli's profits; pirated goods are even available as gachapon on Japanese streets.

Examples of commonly sold Uta-Pri goods

[Via Yaraon!, Inside for All Gamers and Naver Matome; Image from Bad Neighborhood]

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