Copyright Law of Japan

    (Law No.48, promulgated on May 6, 1970)

    (As amended by: Law No.49, of May 18, 1978, 
    Law No.45, of May 19, 1981,
    Law No.78, of December 2, 1983,
    Law No.23, of May 1, 1984,
    Law No.46, of May 25, 1984,
    Law No.62, of June 14, 1985
    Law No.64, of May 23, 1986,
    Law No.65, of May 23, 1986,
    Law No.87, of November 1, 1988,
    Law No.43, of June 28, 1989,
    Law No.63, of May 2, 1991,
    Law No.106, of December 16, 1992,
    Law No.89, of November 12, 1993,
    Law No.112, of December 14, 1994,
    Law No.91, of May 12, 1995,
    Law No.117, of December 26, 1996,
    Law No.86, of June 18, 1997,
    Law No.101, of June 12, 1998,
    Law No.43, of May 14, 1999,
    Law No.77, of June 15, 1999,
    Law No.160, of December 22, 1999,
    Law No.220, of December 22, 1999,
    Law No.56, of May 8, 2000,
    Law No.131, of November 29, 2000,
    Law No.140, of December 5, 2001,
    Law No.72, of June 29, 2002,
    Law No.61, of May 30, 2003,
    Law No.85, of June 18, 2003,
    Law No.119, of July 2, 2003,
    Law No.84, of June 9, 2004,
    Law No.92, of June 9, 2004,
    Law No.120, of June 18, 2004,
    Law No.147, of December 1, 2004,
    Law No.75, of June 29, 2005,
    Law No.121, of December 22, 2006,
    Law No.81, of June 18, 2008,
    Law No.53, of June 19, 2009,
    Law No.73, of July 10, 2009,
    Law No.65, of December 3, 2010,
    Law No.32, of June 22, 2012,
    Law No.43, of June 27, 2012,
    Law No.84, of November 27, 2013,
    Law No.35, of May 14, 2014,
    Law No.69, of June 13, 2014,
    Law No.46, of June 24, 2015,
    Law No.51, of May 27, 2016,
    Law No.108, of December 16, 2016,
    Law No.45, of June 2, 2017,
    Law No.30, of May 25, 2018, and
    Law No.70, of July 6, 2018)

     

    Chapter I General Provisions

    Section 1 General Rules

    (Purpose)

     Article 1 The purpose of this Act is to provide for authors' rights and neighboring rights with respect to works, as well as with respect to performances, phonograms, broadcasts, and cablecasts, and to ensure protection for the rights of authors and other such persons while according attention to the fair exploitation of these cultural products, and thereby to contribute to cultural development.

    (Definitions)

     Article 2  (1) In this Act, the meanings of the terms set forth in the following items are as prescribed respectively in those items:

     (i) "work"means a creatively produced expression of thoughts or sentiments that falls within the literary, academic, artistic, or musical domain;

     (ii) "author" means a person who creates a work;

     (iii) "performing" means giving a dramatic performance of, dancing, giving amusical performance of, singing, delivering, declaiming, or by any other means giv-ing a performance of a work (including similar actions not involving the perfor-mance of a work but having the nature of a performing art);

     (iv) "performer" means an actor, dancer, musician, singer, or any other person who gives a performance, or a person who conducts or stages a performance;

     (v) "phonogram" means the fixation of sounds on a material object such as a phonograph disc or recording tape (other than of sounds that are intended to be played exclusively alongside images);

     (vi) "producer of a phonogram" means the person that was the first to fix the sounds that have been fixed in a phonogram;

     (vii) "commercial phonogram" means a copy of a phonogram that is produced for the purposes of commercial distribution;

     (vii)-2 making a "transmission to the public" means making a transmission of wireless communications or wired telecommunications with the objective of allow-ing the public to receive them directly (excluding transmission (unless this consti-tutes the transmission of a work of computer programming) using telecommunica-tions equipment one part of which is installed on the same premises as the other parts (or, excluding, if two or more persons occupy the same premises, transmis-sion using telecommunications equipment both ends of which are installed within the area a single person occupies));

     (viii) "broadcasting" means the transmission to the public of wireless commu-nications with the objective of allowing the public to simultaneously receive trans-missions with the same content;

     (ix) "broadcaster" means a person that does broadcasting in the course of trade;

     (ix)-2 "cablecasting" means the transmission to the public of wired telecommu-nications with the objective of allowing the public to simultaneously receive trans-missions with the same content;

     (ix)-3 "cablecaster" means a person that does cablecasting in the course of trade;

     (ix)-4 "automatic public transmission" means a transmission to a member of the public (excluding one that constitutes a broadcast or cablecast) that is made automatically in response to a request from the member of the public;

     (ix)-5 making a work "available for transmission" means making it available to be transmitted via automatic public transmission, through either of the following actions:

     (a) recording data onto a recording medium that an automatic public trans-mission server connected with a public telecommunications network uses for transmissions to the public (an automatic public transmission server is a device with a function that allows it to send automatic public transmissions of data re-corded onto the area of its recording media that is used for automatic public transmissions (hereinafter in this item referred to as a"recording medium for public transmissions") or of data input into it, through its connection with a pub-lic telecommunications network; the same applies hereinafter); adding a record-ing medium onto which data has been recorded to such an automatic public transmission server as its recording medium for public transmissions; converting a recording medium onto which data has been recorded into such an automatic public transmission server" recording medium for public transmissions; or in-putting data into such an automatic public transmission server;

     (b) connecting an automatic public transmission server onto whose record-ing medium for public transmissions data has been recorded or into which data has been input, to a public telecommunications network (if this is done through a series of actions such as connecting cables, starting up the automatic public transmission server, and booting the programs for transmission and reception, connecting means the last action in the series);

     (x) "producer of a cinematographic work"means the person that does the con-ceptualizing and has the responsibility in the production of a cinematographic work;

     (x)-2 "computer program" means something expressed as a set of instructions written for a computer, which makes the computer function so that a specific result can be obtained;

     (x)-3 "database"means an aggregate of data such as articles, numerical values, or diagrams, which is systematically constructed so that such data can be searched with a computer;

     (xi) "derivative work" means a work that a person creates by translating, com-posing a musical arrangement of, reformulating, dramatizing, making a cine-matographic adaptation of, or otherwise adapting a pre-existing work;

     (xii) "joint work" means a work created by two or more persons whose contri-butions to the work cannot be separated so as to allow each part of the work to be used independently;

     (xiii) "recording the sound "of something means fixing sounds into a physical object or producing additional copies of that fixation;

     (xiv) "recording the visuals" of something means fixing a sequence of images into a physical object or producing additional copies of that fixation;

     (xv) "reproduction" means the physical replication of a work through printing, photography, or copying, through the recording of sound or visuals, or in any other way, and, for each of the following subject matters, includes the action set forth therein:

      (a) a scenario or other similar work that is used for acting: recording the sound or visuals of a stage performance, broadcast, or cablecast of the work; and

      (b) an architectural work: the construction of a structure in accordance with the architectural plan;

     (xvi) giving a "stage performance" means performing a work other than by giv-ing a musical performance (a musical performance includes singing; the same ap-plies hereinafter);

     (xvii) giving an "on-screen presentation" means projecting a work (other than one being transmitted to the public) on a movie screen or other physical object, and includes playing the sounds accompanying the projection that are fixed to a cine-matographic work;

     (xviii) "recitation"means communicating a work orally by reading it or through other means (except for a means that constitutes a performance);

     (xix) "distributing" a work means transferring or renting out copies of a work to the public, regardless of whether this is done for a price or at no charge, and with regard to a cinematographic work or a work reproduced therein, it includes trans-ferring or renting out copies of such a work for the purpose of presenting the work to the public;

     (xx) "technological protection measures" means measures that use electronic means, magnetic means, or other means that cannot be perceived through the hu-man senses (referred to as "electronic or magnetic means" in the following item and item (xxii)) to prevent or deter a person from engaging in an action that constitutes infringement of an author's moral rights or copyright as referred to in Article 17, paragraph (1), of a print right, of a performer's moral rights as referred to in Articles 89, paragraph (1), or of neighboring rights as referred to in Article 89, paragraph (6) (hereinafter referred to as a "copyright, etc." in this item, Article 30, paragraph (1), item (ii) and Article 120-2, item (i)) (deterring such an action means deterring a person from engaging in an action that constitutes infringement of a copyright, etc. by causing a considerable barrier to arise as a result of such an action; the same applies in Article 30, paragraph (1), item (ii)) (excluding any measure taken to pre-vent or suppress such an action that is not based on the intentions of the person that owns the copyright, etc.), and that are taken using signals to which a machine that can be used to exploit a work, performance, phonogram, broadcast, or cable-cast (hereinafter referred to as a "work, etc.") will have a specific reaction if the work, etc. is exploited (this includes if an action is taken that constitutes an in-fringement of the moral rights of the author or performer when taken without the consent of the author or the performer), by recording such signals onto a recording medium along with the sounds or images of a work, performance, or phonogram, or by transmitting such signals along with the sounds or images of a broadcast or ca-blecast; or by converting the sounds or images of a work, performance, or phono-gram and recording them onto a recording medium or converting the sounds or images of a broadcast or cablecast and transmitting them, so that a machine that can be used to exploit that work, etc. will need to make a specific conversion when the work, etc. is exploited;

     (xxi) "technological exploitation restriction measures" means measures that use electronic or magnetic means to restrict a work, etc. from being viewed or lis-tened to (or from being executed on a computer, if it is a work of computer pro-gramming; the same applies hereinafter in this item and Article 113, paragraph (3)) (excluding any measure taken to restrict this that is not based on the intentions of the copyright owner, the owner of print rights, or the owner of neighboring rights (hereinafter referred to as "the owner of the copyright, etc."), and that are taken using signals to which a machine that can be used to view or listen to a work, etc. will have a specific reaction if the work, etc. is viewed or listened to, by recording such signals onto a recording medium along with the sounds or images of a work, performance, or phonogram; by transmitting such signals along with the sounds or images of a broadcast or cablecast; or by converting the sounds or images of a work, performance, or phonogram and recording them onto a recording medium or converting the sounds or images of a broadcast or cablecast and transmitting them, so that a machine that can be used to exploit that work, etc. will need to make a specific conversion when the work, etc. is viewed or listened to;

     (xxii) "rights management information"means information about a moral right or copyright provided for in Article 17, paragraph (1) or a right referred to in Article 89, paragraphs (1) to (4) (hereinafter referred to as a "copyright, etc."in this item) which falls under (a), (b), or (c) below, and which is recorded onto a recording medium along with the sounds or images of a work, performance, or phonogram, or transmitted along with the sounds or images of a broadcast or cablecast (excluding information not used for assessing how a work, etc. is exploited, for administrative handling related to authorization to exploit a work, etc., or for other management of a work, etc. (limited to management by computer)) by electronic or magnetic means:

       (a) information that identifies the work, etc., the owner of the copyright, etc., and any other particulars that are specified by Cabinet Order;

       (b) information on the terms and conditions of exploitation, if exploitation of the work, etc. is authorized;

       (c) information that enables a person to identify the particulars referred to in (a) or (b) above by checking against other information;

      (a) or (b) above by checking against other information;

      (xxiii) “in Japan” means within the jurisdiction of this Act;

      (xxiv) “abroad” means outside the jurisdiction of this Act.

     (2) As used in this Act, an "artistic work" includes a work of artistic craftsman-ship.

     (3) As used in this Act, a "cinematographic work" includes a work rendered in a manner that produces a visual or audio-visual effect analogous to that of cinematog-raphy, and that is fixed into a physical object.

     (4) As used in this Act, a "photographic work" includes a work rendered using a method similar to that which is used to produce a photograph.

     (5) As used in this Act, "the public" includes exclusive groups made up of many persons.

     (6) As used in this Act, a "corporation" includes an association or foundation that is without legal personality but that has stipulations for a representative or adminis-trator.

     (7) In this Act, "stage performance", "musical performance", and "recitation" in-clude the playback of sound or visual recordings of a stage performance, musical performance, or recitation of a work (except when this constitutes a transmission to the public or on-screen presentation), and the communication of a stage performance, musical performance, or recitation of a work by means of telecommunications facili-ties (except when this constitutes a transmission to the public).

     (8) In this Act, "renting out" a work includes any action that causes a person to acquire the authority for similar use of it, irrespective of the name given to it or the manner in which it is done.

     (9) In this Act, any term as set forth in paragraph (1), items (vii)-2, (viii), (ix)-2,(ix)-4, (ix)-5, and (xiii) through (xix), and in the preceding two paragraphs encom-passes the variant grammatical forms that use the same root.

    (Publication of a Work)

     Article 3  (1) A work has been published if the person that owns the right set forth in Article 21, a person authorized thereby (meaning the person is authorized to exploit a work pursuant to the provisions of Article 63, paragraph (1); the same ap-plies hereinafter in this and the following Chapter, except this paragraph, Article 4, paragraph (1), Article 4-2 and Article 63), a person in favor of whom the print rights set forth in Article 79 have been established, or a person authorized thereby to repro-duce such work (meaning the person is authorized to reproduce a work pursuant to the provisions of Article 80, paragraph (3); the same applies in the proviso to Article 37, paragraph (3), and the proviso to Article 37-2) makes and distributes copies of the work in quantities that are reasonably sufficient for meeting public demand, commen-surate with the nature of the work (limited to when the person does so without prej-udice to the rights of the person that owns the rights set forth in Article 26, Article

    26-2, paragraph (1), or Article 26-3).

     (2) An original work is deemed to have been published if the person that, pursu-ant to the provisions of Article 28, owns the same right to the relevant work as the one prescribed in Article 21 or a person authorized thereby makes and distributes copies of a translation of that original work which constitutes a derivative work, in the quan-tity provided for in the preceding paragraph (limited to when the person does so with-out prejudice to the rights of the person that, pursuant to the provisions of Article 28, owns the same right to the relevant work as a right set forth in Article 26, Article 26-2, paragraph (1), or Article 26-3).

     (3) The person that would own a right referred to in either of the preceding two paragraphs if the work were protected under this Act and a person authorized thereby to exploit the work are, respectively, deemed to be the person that owns that right and the person authorized thereby, and the provisions of those paragraphs apply.

    (Making a Work Public)

     Article 4 (1)  A work has been made public if it is published or if a person that owns a right provided for in Articles 22 through 25, a person authorized thereby (meaning the person is authorized to exploit a work pursuant to the provisions of Article 63, paragraph (1)), a person in favor of whom the print rights set forth in Article 79 have been established, or a person authorized thereby to transmit that work to the public (meaning the person is authorized to exploit a work pursuant to the provi-sions of Article 80, paragraph (3); the same applies in the following paragraph, the proviso to Article 37, paragraph (3), and the proviso to Article 37-2) presents the work to the public by means of a stage performance, musical performance, on-screen pres-entation, transmission to the public, recitation, or exhibition (if it is an architectural work, this includes when the person that owns the right set forth in Article 21 or the person authorized thereby (meaning the person is authorized to exploit a work pursu-ant to the provisions of Article 63, paragraph (1)) constructs it).

     (2) A work is deemed to have been made public if the person that owns the right provided for in Article 23, paragraph (1), a person authorized thereby, a person in fa-vor of whom the print rights set forth in Article 79 have been established, or a person authorized thereby to transmit that work to the public makes the work available for transmission.

     (3) An original work is deemed to have been made public if a person that, pursu-ant to the provisions of Article 28, owns the same right to the relevant work as one that is provided for in Articles 22 through 24 or a person authorized thereby presents a translation of it to the public which constitutes a derivative work, by means of a stage performance, musical performance, on-screen presentation, transmission to the public, or recitation, or if a person that, pursuant to the provisions of Article 28, owns the same right with regard to the relevant work as the right provided for in Article 23, paragraph (1) or a person authorized thereby makes that translation available for transmission.

     (4) An artistic work or a photographic work is deemed to have been made public if the person prescribed in Article 45, paragraph (1) exhibits it as provided for in that paragraph.

     (5) The person that would own a right provided for in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this Article if the work were protected under this Act and a person authorized thereby to exploit the work are, respectively, deemed to be the person that owns that right and the person authorized thereby, and the provisions of those paragraphs apply accordingly.

    (Publication of a Phonogram)

     Article 4-2 A phonogram has been published if the person that owns the right set forth in Article 96 or a person authorized thereby (meaning the person is authorized to exploit a phonogram pursuant to the provisions of Article 63, paragraph (1) as they apply mutatis mutandis pursuant to Article 103; the same applies in Chapter IV, Sec-tions 2 and 3) makes and distributes copies of the phonogram in quantities that are reasonably sufficient for meeting public demand, commensurate with the nature of the work (limited to when the person does so without prejudice to the rights of the person that owns the right set forth in Article 97-2, paragraph (1) or Article 97-3, par-agraph (1)).

    (Effect of International Treaties)

     Article 5 If an international treaty provides otherwise with respect to the rights of authors and neighboring rights, the provisions thereof prevail.

    Section 2 Scope of Application

    (Protected Works)

     Article 6 Only a work that falls under one of the following items is protected under this Act:

     (i) a work by a Japanese national (including a corporation established based on a Japanese law or regulation or a corporation with a principal office in Japan; the same applies hereinafter);

     (ii) a work that is first published in Japan (including one first published abroad and published in Japan within 30 days from the date of its first publication);

     (iii) a work other than one set forth in the preceding two items, which Japan is under the obligation to protect pursuant to an international treaty.

    (Protected Performances)

    Article 7 Only a performance that falls under one of the following items is pro-tected under this Act:

     (i) a performance that takes place in Japan;

     (ii)  a performance fixed in a phonogram set forth in item (i) or (ii) of the follow-ing Article;

     (iii) a performance transmitted in a broadcast set forth in Article 9, item (i) or(ii) (excluding a performance whose sound or visuals are recorded before the transmission with the authorization of the performer);

     (iv) a performance transmitted in a cablecast set forth in one of the items of Article 9-2 (excluding a performance whose sound or visuals are recorded before the transmission with the authorization of the performer);

     (v) any of the following performances, other than one also set forth in the preceding items:

      (a) a performance that takes place in a Contracting State of the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention for the Protection of Performers, etc.");

      (b) a performance fixed in a phonogram set forth in item (iii) of the following Article;

      (c) a performance transmitted in a broadcast set forth in Article 9, item (iii)(excluding a performance whose sound or visuals are recorded before the trans-mission with the authorization of the performer);

     (vi) any of the following performances, other than one also set forth in the preceding items:

      (a) a performance that takes place in a Contracting Party to the WIPO Perfor-mances and Phonograms Treaty (hereinafter referred to as "the WPPT");

      (b) a performance fixed in a phonogram set forth in item (iv) of the following Article;

     (vii) any of the following performances, other than one also set forth in the preceding items:

      (a) a performance that takes place in a World Trade Organization Member State;

      (b) a performance fixed in a phonogram set forth in item (v) of the following Article;

      (c) a performance transmitted in a broadcast set forth in Article 9, item (iv)(excluding a performance whose sound or visuals are recorded before the trans-mission with the authorization of the performer).

    (Protected Phonograms)

     Article 8 Only a phonogram that falls under one of the following items is protect-ed under this Act:

     (i) a phonogram whose producer is a Japanese national;

     (ii) a phonogram in which sounds are first fixed in Japan;

     (iii) any of the following phonograms, other than one also set forth in either of the preceding two items:

      (a) a phonogram whose producer is the national of a Contracting State of the Convention for the Protection of Performers, etc. (the nationals of a Contracting State include corporations established based on the laws and regulations of that State and corporations that have principal offices in that State; the same applies hereinafter);

      (b) a phonogram in which sounds are first fixed in a Contracting State of the Convention for the Protection of Performers, etc.;

     (iv) any of the following phonograms, other than one also set forth in the preceding three items:

      (a) a phonogram whose producer is the national of a Contracting Party to the WPPT (the nationals of a Contracting Party include corporations established based on the laws and regulations of that Party and corporations that have prin-cipal offices in that Party; the same applies hereinafter);

      (b) a phonogram in which sounds are first fixed in a Contracting Party to the WPPT;

     (v) any of the following phonograms, other than one also set forth in the preceding items:

      (a) a phonogram whose producer is the national of a World Trade Organiza-tion Member State (the nationals of a Member State include corporations estab-lished based on the laws and regulations of that State and corporations that have principal offices in that State; the same applies hereinafter);

      (b) a phonogram in which sounds are first fixed in a World Trade Organiza-tion Member State;

     (vi) a phonogram, other than one set forth in the preceding items, that Japan is under the obligation to protect pursuant to the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (referred to as "the Convention for the Protection of Phonograms"in Article 121-2, item (ii)).

    (Protected Broadcasts)

     Article 9 Only a broadcast that falls under one of the following items is protected under this Act:

     (i) the broadcast of a broadcaster that is a Japanese national;

     (ii) a broadcast made from a broadcasting facility in Japan;

     (iii) any of the following broadcasts, other than one also set forth in the preced-ing two items:

      (a) the broadcast of a broadcaster that is the national of a World Trade Or-ganization Member State;

      (b) a broadcast made from a broadcasting facility in a World Trade Organiza-tion Member State.

    (Protected Cablecasts)

     Article 9-2 Only a cablecast that falls under one of the following items is protect-ed under this Act:

     (i) a cablecast whose cablecaster is a Japanese national (excluding a cablecast that the cablecaster transmits based on the receipt of a broadcast; the same applies in the following item);

     (ii) a cablecast made from a cablecasting facility in Japan.

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