Japanese copyright law


Charles Matthews We might be able to figure here what the Japanese Copyright Acts of 1899 and 1970 actually say. I invite contributions. I have a source.

For example, with the help of our Japanese speakers, we could make sense of this, which I get from a learned article:

...a new term chosakuken was adopted instead of ... hanken deriving from the English word "copyright".

This refers to the 1899 act. There is a gloss: the new term

could cover ... the right of artists in their paintings and sculptures.

BobMcGuigan: I'm hesitant to contribute before the experts do, but the term chosaku has primary meaning "literary work, book" and chosakuken is "copyright", according to my dictionary. Unless there's a technical legal meaning I'm not familiar with this doesn't seem to broaden the application of copyright. The character for han means "printing block or plate; printing; edition, impression" etc. Hanken is simply given as "copyright". Neither of these terms seems to get the full meaning of reproduction, as used in art, for example. But these are from the 1899 act, right? And I suppose the modern issues of intellectual property weren't so well developed then anywhere.

kritz I will check with a Japanese patent attorney in our office. Do you have any specific questions? I'm thinking a) are games copyrightable? b) commentary? c) collections of games? d)collections of problems? e)on the internet? -I don't often like to turn over these types of stones... The answers come back frequently "it depends" or come back "bad."

I would hate to think SL would be governed by the most strict copyright laws in the world.... (What about Borneo's laws...?) A word of caution. Simply reading code will never tell you where the law stands. Interpretation of the code in real courts determines how the law is applied (at least in the US, Britain and Canada).

Charles The Japanese aren't litigious, certainly by American standards. I don't expect the points of particular interest to be settled by case law.

kritz Agreed: That said, I don't know if there is a fair use exception in Japan. The US fair use doctrine originated from caselaw -later put in the code. (I suspect SL would be covered by the fair use exception - at least in the US)

kritz The Japanese associate says "Mr. Kritz, Frankly, nobody in Japan will care about this." After a few more questions, he replied "This site does not charge money does it?" "The games are already posted and public elsewhere?" And a gruff "This simply is not a problem. Just don't charge money." Which I took as my signal that the conversation was over.

I have asked a similar question from a Korean associate at a top Seoul firm - more to come.

There is English language information about copyright in Japan at [ext] http://www.cric.or.jp/cric_e/index.html
[ext] http://www.cric.or.jp/cric_e/beginner/beginner.html contains this Q&A:
"Q4. In which libraries is it OK to reproduce materials without authorization under some conditions?
A4. Reproduction of part of works is exceptionally permissible in such libraries as public libraries, university/college libraries which are open to the public."

[ext] http://www.cric.or.jp/cric_e/csj/csj.html states that News items stating facts are exempt for copyright law, and would a kifu not be news?-TimBrent

The text I'm talking about: Note: 1) The Copyright law excludes the following from the scope of works of authorship :

(a) news having the character of simple communication of facts; and (b) programming language, rule (a special rule on how to use a programming language in a particular program) and algorithm.

I do think that kifu falls under this-TimBrent

"Simple communication of facts" probably fits. I don't think "news" has to be part of it. At least, I believe the Berne convention on copyright says something more along the lines of "records of events" or something the like. On the other hand, a presentation (commentary, documentaries setting several events together for a context, etc etc etc, based on these events) is copyrightable. A collection, especially if themed ("The collected games of -name-") is also copyrightable, but any single contained record is not. That is one interpretion that has come out of it. As for how it would work in court? No idea. -MaHuJa

Rakshasa: I don't know much about German copyright law but i don't think it's anywhere near the strictest in the worlds as the above comment suggests. I don't think senseis.xmp.net is breaking any German laws due to copied problems and games.

RobertJasiek: Copying non-public-domain problems, commentary on problems, or commented games from, say, a book or a file violates the German copyright law. Citation of reasonably small parts is allowed. (If you do not know the difference: Citation acknowledges the source and the original author.)

Rakshasa: I asked a real copyright lawyer (US) i know and he said this: "I don't know what WIPO or Germany says, but my inclination would be to say yes, especially if more than one, related, but with relatively thin protection."

StuartYeates?: There have been several discussions of whether chess game records (that is western chess, not eastern chess) fall under copyright (using US not Japanese law) in the CNI-copyright forum. The links are:

[ext] https://mail2.cni.org/Lists/CNI-COPYRIGHT/List.html?Search=Electronic%20publishing%20of%20chess%20games


[ext] https://mail2.cni.org/Lists/CNI-COPYRIGHT/List.html?Search=chess%20moves

There's also a discussion on the debian-legal list, which is more directly concerned with electronic works and their dictribution:

[ext] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/04/threads.html#00043

My interpretation: Western chess game records do not fall under US/UK copyright law, but specific representation of them (an image or a file representing them) does and non-automated transcription renders the record free of the copyright. Commentry, annotations, quotes from players and sepectators and so forth are covered by normal copyright. IANAL.

See Also:

Japanese copyright law last edited by velobici on September 14, 2006 - 23:57
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