copyright

Miyazaki City tries to get “Happy,” but will record labels allow it?

By now you are probably more than sick of hearing Pharell Williams’ “Happy.” We’re not ragging on the song, but we strongly suspect that the international hit, though infectious, has started to wear out its welcome. It took a dedicated Weird Al to even keep us interested through the summer, so we’d say it’s about time to put this song to bed. Maybe we’ll break it out again next summer and laugh at all the memories.

However, there is one thing the video has helped illustrate beyond people’s willingness to show off their dance skills (or lack thereof) for a YouTube video: The nebulous world of copyright violation in Japan.

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“If I don’t download free music, I’ll get bullied!” – IT worker’s experience with net-using kids

The internet has completely changed the way we work and live, but for those of us having children it can be hard to understand how different life has become for them as information technology natives.

Having some shoes that could be pumped full of air was the deciding factor of our social status in school at one time, but what are kids thinking about today? Kakurega Komyo is an IT worker in Japan who caught a glimpse of this life while setting up the internet in someone’s house.

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Surprising knock-off goods from Japan

Nowadays, when it comes to knock-offs of popular products, most people think of China. We’re not just saying that to pick on our neighbors to the west, there’s just an awful lot of suspect copies. Korean bootlegs have had their time making the rounds as well, but everyone seems to leave Japan alone. That is until now. A video uploaded by Japanese YouTube user, msdoom99, has surfaced with the goal of giving all those Japanese netizens who have laughed at Chinese and Korean knockoffs a taste of Japan’s little-known copies. Take a look at just a few and ask yourself, “So who’s laughing now?”

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Gunma man who sought “popularity” arrested after uploading Studio Ghibli’s “Kaze Tachinu”

A man from Japan’s Gunma Prefecture is facing legal action on the grounds of copyright infringement after uploading Studio Ghibli’s 2013 animated film Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises in the West) to a public website in July and November last year, the Yomiuri Online reports. When questioned, the accused individual remarked that he uploaded the film “to be popular”, proving once again that crime, especially the dumb kind, does not pay.

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Japan’s infamous anti-piracy mascots given own line of figurines, pre-orders open now

For many years now people across the world have been treated to various informative public service announcements telling us to not record movies as we watch them in the theater. I recall once even being told that cinema piracy helps fund terrorism.

However, in Japan the NO MORE Eiga Dorobo (No More Movie Thief) campaign has transcended its original aim of copyright protection and has become a pop-culture phenomenon in its own right. The main characters Camera Otoko (Camera Man) or Patrol Lamp Otoko (Cherry Man) must have achieved their aim, as filming movies with bulky tape-loaded camcorders has seen a significant decline in recent years.

Now, having succeeded in their mission, it’s time for these guys to cash-in on their own popularity by selling little versions of themselves through Bandai’s online shopping site.

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Oh duck! Giant rubber duck exhibition in Taiwan sparks off massive copyright infringement conflict!


It seems our favorite giant rubber duck is in deep trouble again! Following its deflating experience at Taoyuan, it has risen to the headlines again while visiting Keelung, the last stop of its Taiwan tour. This time around, not only was it put up to the trials of bad weather, a series of marketing and planning hiccups due to miscommunication with the art piece’s creator put the big yellow fellow through a whirlwind of media reports. But what exactly went wrong?

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Era’s Adventures in Intellectual Property Rightsland

Recently a new game developed for Android devices, Era’s Adventures was turning heads for its main character, Era’s slight resemblance to Nintendo’s famous dinosaur Yoshi.  The attention had gotten so big that it caught the eye of Nintendo’s legal team who decided to have a chat with the developer, Botond Kopacz.

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How the Expired Copyright License of Old Literary Works Could Keep Japan’s Cultural Soil Fertile

When it comes to reading famous literary works whose copyright license has expired, there is one piece of software that is renowned for doing the job rather well. It goes by the name of “Aozora Bunko” and is a digital contents reader available on a wide variety of devices; there’s even a version available for smart phone users. It is currently host to a plethora of copyright-free material rich in Japanese history and culture. What’s particularly exciting is that the more time goes by, the more the library of works can be seen to grow.

Anyone with an interest in old Japanese masterpieces – and can read Japanese – will surely be lured in by what this software has to offer. In this connection, on January 1 this year, the legendary writer Eiji Yoshikawa’s work “Miyamoto Musashi” is also set to be added to the collection. Miyamoto Musashi is a bestselling novel depicting the life of legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto, who actually existed during the Japanese Edo era.

Just what makes all this free content possible is the rule that governs copyright licensing laws: 50 years after an author has passed away, copyrighted works are released freely into the public domain.

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A Year After Launch, iPhone’s Siri Still Packs a Few Surprises, But Remains a Slave to Her Bosses

While there are still a few kinks to be straightened out, and it’s not quite the life-changing service that Apple have been claiming it to be, the iPhone’s PA program Siri is still capable of making a few users chuckle.

Perhaps just seeing what their new iPhone’s electronic assistant could do can do, or perhaps just immensely bored one day, a Japanese iPhone user told Siri something about herself–

“Tomorrow’s my birthday…”

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Award Winning Manga to be Freely Used by Anyone for Anything Anytime, Author Will Not Request Royalties

Shuho Sato, the writer of Burakku Jyakku ni Yoroshiku, which commonly translates to “Say Hello to Black Jack,” is planning to make the award winning, 10 million copy selling manga available for free “second use.”

This means that after 15 September anyone in the world will be free to novelize, televise, create merchandise, or in any way adapt the original work for either commercial or non-commercial purposes without having to pay royalties.  This is the latest move in the writer’s quest to find alternatives to the “outdated” model of intellectual property rights.

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