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Japanese Government's New Draft Plan for Copyright Law Revision Allows for Screenshots

posted on by Jennifer Sherman, Crystalyn Hodgkins
Government hopes to finalize draft bill by January for submission to Diet in early 2020

Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs revealed at a meeting of experts on November 27 a draft of a plan that would allow screenshots of copyrighted works (including manga, video games, and literary works) under a revision of Japan's copyright laws.

A subcommittee of Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs agreed on a plan in February to create comprehensive laws banning the practice of knowingly downloading all illegal media from the internet. Current laws only punish the consumers of pirated media in cases where the media in question is music or video, so the proposed revisions would expand the current laws. The revised plan in February caused concerns, as critics argued the tighter regulations would be too broad and would hinder on the freedom of expression of internet users.

The agency called a meeting of experts on November 27 to discuss the revisions. Experts in attendance included manga creator Ken Akamatsu, copyright scholars and lawyers, representatives from NPOs that work to protect freedom of expression, and publisher public relations managers. The committee members discussed allowing screenshots of works, as well as downloading a certain number of panels from manga.

The agency is now hoping to finalize the bill by January, and submit the bill to amend the copyright law to the Diet in early 2020. The agency will also have more discussions regarding whether to revise the law so that complete downloading of original works (except for parodies and derivative works) and downloads from piracy sites will be illegal.

Sources: Asahi Shimbun (上田真由美), The Mainichi

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