Negima's Akamatsu Details How TPP Will Affect Dōjinshi, Niconico

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Negima manga creator Ken Akamatsu is well established as voice against copyright restrictions on fan works and censorship. He appeared in a CNN piece last year to explain to reporter Will Ripley why the bill criminalizing possession of child pornography would not, and should not, affect anime and manga.

Recent focus is honed in on The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement among 12 countries around the Pacific Rim. It will standardize intellectual property laws. In Japan, this includes reclassifying copyright infringement as a crime that can be prosecuted without the victim's consent. In Japan, it is currently a shinkokuzai, or a crime that can only be prosecuted if the victim files charges. After five years of negotiating, the TPP reached a milestone on Sunday and appears to moving forward.

Akamatsu wrote a series of tweets on October 5 detailing how this may affect dōjin works, the Niconico streaming service, and pixiv. He also discussed some of his plans to to protect fan art.

Translation: "To scrutinize people's fan art and report it without consent is like pursuing anything with the Olympic mark on it. Dōjin writers won't stand a chance against a policy like that. [The government] would need to expand their AT Field for this [Eva reference]."

Translation: "We should have plenty of AT fields against this, but Minister [of State for Economic Revitalization] Amari has even said in the Diet that what an original artist stands to lose from being copied has no real meaning."

Translation: "Say that publishers don't submit works one by one and someone were to release a secondary work instead. In that case, the police would have to check for infringement before actually making an arrest. That way, we could fall in line with Amari's vision."

Translation: "I'm working to implement a dōjin mark as an AT field to protect fan art, but it needs the formal support of anybody willing to do so. (I'm doing this to preserve the status quo for fan art; even if the TPP didn't get approved, we would still use this mark thanks to copyright law.)"

Translation: "I'd like to bring "fan art protection" to the attention of the government. This is quite different from methods we've used before. We're not trying to pick a fight. Since domestic law might not be timely about this, it's important not to cause a panic."

Translation: "Cosplay would be safe from these laws trying to 'protect the profitability of the original work.' It's the profit from fan art that's at risk and something should be done in terms of domestic law. Dōjin shops would close down, Nico Nico would delete all of its content and pixiv would see drastic changes as well."

Japan's current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is in support of the partnership. The Japanese government held a conference in May specifically focusing on how the TPP would affect events like Comiket. Comiket currently exists in a gray zone, since while dōjinshi are technically against the law, most creators tacitly consent to their production and sale.

Akamatsu spoke out against the agreement in February. He called for concerned parties to begin lobbying but had an optimistic outlook at the time.

[Via Yara-On!, Asahi Shimbun]

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