Japan Cartoonists Association Formally Responds to Efforts to Expand Japanese Copyright Law

posted on by Kim Morrissy

A subcommittee of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs recently agreed on a plan to expand the scope of copyright law. Downloading anime images, illustrations, and photographs that are illegally posted to personal blogs and Twitter accounts would also be illegal, as would copying and pasting song lyrics. The laws would not be limited to directly downloading images themselves — taking screenshots of illegally uploaded media would also be against the new laws.

The Japan Cartoonists Association released a formal statement on Wednesday in response to the laws: "We ask that due deliberation is taken to ensure that the expansion [of copyright law] does not impede civil rights such as research and freedom of expression."

The Association said that it understood that the law was targeting illegal sites, but that certain improvements need to be made. The statement offered the following suggestions to lawmakers:

1) The law should address repeat offenders

2) The law should address the illegal uploading and sharing of manga with no alterations of content

3) The law should only target cases where the rights holder's profits are negatively affected

Several manga artists complained about the motion to expand Copyright law on Twitter immediately after the news circulated. They expressed worries that the law was too vague, and that fan activities could be negatively affected. Negima! artist Ken Akamatsu said that he hopes that the Agency for Cultural Affairs will listen to the objecting voices of the manga artists, among others.

Source: Japan Cartoonists Association

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