Japan limits the scope for Copyright Law Revision, will allow Screenshots


Following up on the news regarding the Japanese Government’s recent battle over a new Copyright Law reform. It has had Mangaka creators, fans, and Cartoonists speaking out against Japan’s Agency of Cultural Affairs Subcommittee’s plan that was revealed in February for Comprehensive Copyright Laws that would ban the practice of knowingly downloading illegal media from the internet. The Laws currently in place only punish the consumers of pirated media in some cases where the media in question whether it be music or video, so the proposed laws have been expanded. As I have mentioned before, this was met with critics concerned that tighter regulations would be too broad and hinder freedom of expression for internet users.

Image Credit: Asahi Shimbun

In this Graph, the Asahi Shimbun shows us what the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs’ Plan for Illegal Downloading

According to The Mainichi, it goes into further detail on this plan, it also included restricting wide-ranging online actions that included illegal downloading of Manga, Computer Games, and Literary Writings; but now they are reversing their initial plan. The Cultural Affairs Agency’s Panel said that a future amendment to the Copyright Law would not apply to partial downloads of copyrighted works, such as a few frames from a Comic Book, or a screenshot of a copyrighted image. It was also suggested that images containing text that is sometimes collected as part of intellectual activities, mentioning that it is difficult to discern between the legal and illegal content that is available online already.

Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency Panel
Image Credit: The Mainichi

The panel hoped to have a bill ready to be submitted to the Diet by March, but at that time it was delayed due to backlash from the previous proposal. Now the Agency aims to finalize the new plan by January and submit a bill to amend the copyright law to the next Diet session to be convened early next year. We will be following this story closely and will update you all when more information is provided!

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