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Japan Considers Fair-Use Clause Based on U.S. Copyright Law

posted on by Egan Loo
Tentative proposal could lead to relaxed laws on copying without permission

The Japanese government's group in charge of copyright reform is proposing the addition of fair-use clauses similar to those found in the United States Copyright Law. The current Japanese Copyright Law requires permission from the copyright holders for any kind of copying or use, except for personal, library, or academic purposes. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters proposes to expand these exceptions by considering other factors, including whether the copying or use is intended for non-commercial purposes and whether they influence the market or value of the original work.

These factors roughly match two of the factors that are listed in the United States Copyright Law. The other two factors are "the nature of the copyrighted work" and "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole." The Japanese copyright law already allows limited quotations for "news reporting, criticism or research."

The tentative proposal is intended to support new companies that require such use without the permission of the original copyright holders. However, the Asahi Shimbun paper points out that the proposal has ramifications for other uses that are currently unauthorized but are largely ignored and unprosecuted. Those possible scenarios include personal blog posts with images of copyrighted anime characters and parody works.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

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