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Japanese Government Considers Codifying Copyright Rules on Cosplay Income

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Government investigates whether income earned from cosplaying qualifies as copyright infringement

The Nikkan Sports newspaper reported on Saturday that the Japanese government is considering rules that will allow copyright holders to regulate cosplayers for income earned from cosplay activity. While cosplayers who do not earn money from their activity are not violating laws, those who do have an income from cosplaying may be seen as violating copyright law.

The report noted that the government is currently investigating the issue, seeking opinions from both copyright holders and cosplayers such as Enako, but there is no proposed legislation as of yet.

Currently, cosplayers can earn income from cosplaying through such methods as subscription or membership services, compensation for appearances at events such as conventions, or selling their costumes. The question of whether cosplay violates copyright law by infringing on reproduction or adaptation rights has been in discussion by many within and outside the cosplay community for years.

Tarō Yamada, a member of the Japanese House of Councillors and the leader of the "Party to Protect Freedom of Expression," said that it is possible to maintain an "ecosystem" that benefits both copyright holders and cosplayers fairly, and that, as one of the Diet members considering the issue, that he is carefully investigating a way forward for Japanese copyright law in the "age of user-generated content."

Sources: Nikkan Sports, Kyodo, Tarō Yamada's Twitter account via Hachima Kikō (link 2)


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