In about a week, Halloween, cosplayers‘ favorite holiday, will be upon us. Millions of people — increasingly including Japanese — will take to the streets in costume, and much of it will be cosplay. But some of this activity may actually be against Japanese law.


The website Oshiete! goo, an eclectic question-and-answer site, asked Yūji Ōkuma, a lawyer with the Toranomon Law and Patent Office, whether dressing up in costumes based on anime characters violated copyright protection. He answered that it was, since it infringed on reproduction rights (protected by Article 21 of Japan’s copyright law) and adaptation rights (protected by Article 27).

Ōkuma admitted that creating costumes for one’s own use is considered “reproduction for personal and private use,” and is therefore permitted, but making costumes for friends to use or ordering a costume from a business would probably not be since it would not qualify as “personal and private use.” He advised cosplayers to first investigate who holds the copyright for the characters they are impersonating, but acknowledged that obtaining their permission “would not be so easy in a hurry.”

For more on the ins and outs of copyright infringement and cosplay, see Sean Thordsen’s article on The Law of Anime.

[Via Oshiete! goo]

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