Copyright Law of Japan

    Outline of the Copyright Law

    Updated 24. June. 2021

    1 . Works

    "Work" means a production in which thoughts or sentiments are expressed in a creative way and which falls within the literary, academic, artistic or musical domain (Art.2, (1), (i)).

    • Classification of works (Art.10, (1)):
      Literary, musical, artistic, figurative, cinematographic, photographic, program and database works, etc.

    2 . Authors

    "Author" means a person who creates a work (Art.2, (1), (ii)).

    • Authorship of a work made by an employee in the course of his duties (Art.15).
    • Authorship of a cinematographic work (Art.16).

    3 . Rights of Authors (Copyright)

    • Moral rights and copyright (Art.17, (1)).
    • Non-formality (Art.1 (2)):

    The enjoyment of moral rights and copyright shall not be subject to any formality.

    Rights of authors (Copyright) Moral rights Right of making the work public (Art.18)
    Right of determining the indication of the author's name (Art.19)
    Right of preserving the integrity (Art.20)
    Copyright
    (Economic rights)
    Right of reproduction (Art.21)
    Right of performance (Art.22)
    Right of presentation (Art.22-2)
    Rights of public transmission, etc. (Art.23)
    Right of recitation (Art.24)
    Right of exhibition (Art.25)
    Rights of distribution(Art.26)
    Rights of transfer of ownership(Art.26-2)
    Right of lending (Art.26-3)
    Rights of translation, adaptation, etc. (Art.27)
    Right of the original author in the exploitation of a derivative work (Art.28)

    4 . Limitations on Copyright

    • Reproduction for private use (Art.30); reproduction in libraries, etc. (Art.31); quotations (Art.32); reproduction in school textbooks, etc. (Art.33); reproduction in alternative textbook, etc.(Art.33-2); reproduction in school textbooks for preparing a textbook in large print (Art.33-3); broadcasting, etc.in school education programs (Art.34); reproduction etc. in schools and other educational institutions, etc. (Art.35); reproduction etc. in examination questions(Art.36); reproduction etc. in for visually handicapped, etc. (Art.37); reproduction etc. for aurally handicapped, etc. (Art.37-2); performance, etc. not for profit-making (Art.38); reproduction, etc. of articles on current topics (Art.39); exploitation of political speeches, etc. (Art.40); reporting of current events (Art.41); reproduction for submitting documents in legal proceedings, patent examination procedure and pharmaceutical approval procedure (Art.42); exploitation for Disclosure by the Government Organizations Information Disclosure Law, etc. (Art.42-2); exploitation for preservation etc. by the Public Records Management Law, etc. (Art.42-3); reproduction for collecting internet materials under the National Diet Library Law (Art.43); ephemeral recordings by broadcasting organizations, etc. (Art.44); exhibition of an artistic work, etc. by the owner of the original thereof (Art.45); exploitation of an artistic work, etc. located in open places (Art.46); reproduction required for an exhibition of artistic works, etc. (Art.47); reproduction, etc. required for an offer of a transfer of ownership, etc. of an artistic work, etc. (Art.47-2); reproduction etc. by the owner of a copy of a program work (Art.47-3); exploitation etc. of works associated with the exploitation of works on a computer (Art.47-4); minor exploitation, etc. associated with data processing on a computer and provisions of such results (Art.47-5); exploitation by means of translation, adaptation, etc. (Art.47-6); transfer of copies made pursuant to restrictions on the right of reproduction (Art.47-7); etc.

    5 . Term of Protection

    • The term of copyright shall begin with the creation of the work; copyright shall continue to subsist, in principle, until the end of a period of seventy years following the death of the author (Art.51).
    • Copyright in anonymous and pseudonymous works and works bearing the name of a corporate body shall continue to subsist until the end of a period of seventy years following the making public of the work (Art.52, Art.53).
    • Copyright in cinematographic works shall continue to subsist until the end of a period of seventy years following the making public of the work (Art.54).

    6 . Registration

    • Registration of the true name (Art.75); registration of the date of the first publication, etc. (Art.76); registration of the date of creation (Art.76-2); registration of copyright (Art.77).
    • Procedures for registration (Art.78); exceptional provision for the registration of program works (Art.78-2).

    7 . Right of Publication

    • Establishment of the right of publication (Art.79); contents of the right of publication(Art.80); obligation of publication (Art.81); etc..

    8 . Neighboring Rights

    • Rights of performers, producers of phonograms, broadcasting organizations and wire diffusion organizations (Art.89~Art.100-5).
    • Term of protection: seventy years from the time of performance, seventy years from publication of sounds on phonograms, fifty years from broadcasting (Art.101).
    Rights of performers Moral rights of performers Right of determining the indication of the performer's name (Art.90-2)
    Right of preserving the integrity (Art.90-3)
    Economic rights Rights of authorization Right of making sound or visual recordings (Art.91)
    Right of broadcasting and wire diffusion (Art.92)
    Right of making transmittable (Art.92-2)
    Right of transfer of ownership (Art.95-2)
    Right of lending (Art.95-3)
    Rights to remuneration Right to secondary use fees of commercial phonograms (Art.95)
    Right to remuneration for lending commercial phonograms (Art.95-3)
    Right to remuneration for simultaneous transmission of wire diffusion (Art.94-2)
    Rights of producers of phonograms Rights of authorization Right of reproduction (Art.96)
    Right of making transmittable (Art.96-2)
    Right of transfer of ownership (Art.97-2)
    Right of lending (Art.97-3)
    Rights to remuneration Right to secondary use fees of commercial phonograms (Art.97)
    Right to remuneration for lending commercial phonograms (Art.97-3)
    Rights of broadcasting organizations Rights of authorization Right of reproduction (Art.98)
    Rights of rebroadcasting and wire diffusion (Art.99)
    Right of making transmittable(Art.99-2)
    Right of communication of television broadcasts (Art.100)
    Rights of wire diffusion organizations Rights of authorization Right of reproduction (Art.100-2)
    Right of broadcasting and wire rediffusion (Art.100-3)
    Right of making transmittable (Art.100-4)
    Right of communication of wire television diffusions (Art.100-5)

    9 . Measures against Infringement on Copyright, etc.

    • Civil measures:
      Right of demanding cessation (Art.112); measures for recovery of honor, etc. (Art.115); compensation for damages; recovery of the undue profit; etc.
    • Criminal measures:
      Any person who infringes a copyright, right of publication or neighboring rights shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to ten years or a fine of up to ten million yen, or both (Art.119, (1)). Any person who infringes the moral rights of an author or the moral rights of a performer, engages in an act considered to constitute an infringement under(Art.113, (1)), operates a index site, provides a index app or any other such person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to five years or a fine of up to five million yen, or both (Art.119, (2)).  or any person who infringes a copyright or neighboring rights by downloading illegally uploaded works of sound recordings or visual recordings, which are being provided or presented for a fee, while being aware they have been uploaded illegally or who continuously or repeatedly infringes a copyright by downloading illegally uploaded works other than those of sound recordings or visual recordings (provided or presented for a fee) while being aware that they have been uploaded illegally (except when coming under certain requirements) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to two years or a fine of up to two million yen, or both (Art.119, (3)), or any person who engages in an act of manufacture or distribution of a device for the circumvention of technological protection measures, who engages in an act considered to constitute an infringement under(Art.113,(2)) or any other such person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to three years or a fine of up to three million yen, or both (Art.120-2).
      A legal person who infringes rights shall be punished with a fine of up to three hundred million yen (Art.124).
    • Acts considered to be infringements (Art.113):
      The importation into this country, for distribution, of objects made by an act which would constitute an infringement of moral rights, copyright, right of publication or neighboring rights if they were made in this country at the time of such importation.
      The distribution, the possession for distribution or the making of an offer of distribution, or the exportation by trade or the possession for exportation by trade, of objects made by an act infringing moral rights, copyright, right of publication or neighboring rights, by a person who is aware of such infringement (Art.113, (1)).
      The provision of a link to infringing content on a index site or index app (Art.113, (2))
      The act of a index site operator or index app provider abandoning the provision of the link (Art.113, (3))
      The circumventing of technological use restriction measures (Art.113, (6))
      The provision to the public of an unauthorized serial code in order to circumvent technological protection measures or technological use restriction measures (Art.113, (7))
      The intentional alteration, etc. of rights management information (Art.113, (8)).

    [Ref.] International Conventions (Status as of December 2019)

    • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886, Berne) --- WIPO:
      179 countries (Japan, U.S.A., U.K., France, Germany, China, etc.)
    • Universal Copyright Convention (1952, Geneva) --- UNESCO:
      100 countries (Japan, U.S.A., Russia, U.K., France, Germany, etc.)
    • Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (1971, Geneva) --- WIPO, UNESCO: 80 countries (Japan, U.S.A., U.K., France, Germany, etc.)
    • International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961, Rome) --- WIPO, UNESCO, ILO:
      96 countries (Japan, U.K., France, Germany, etc.)
    • Agreement on Trade - Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (1994, Marrakesh) --- Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO):
      164 countries (Japan, U.S.A., U.K., France, Germany, etc.)
    • WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) (1996, Geneva) --- WIPO:
      108 countries (Japan, U.S.A., etc.)
    • WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) (1996, Geneva) --- WIPO: 107 countries (Japan, U.S.A., etc.)
    • Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh VIP Treaty) (2013, Marrakesh) --- WIPO:
      79 countries (Japan, U.S.A., etc.)
    • Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (2012,Beijing) --- WIPO:39 countries (Japan, China ,etc.)

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