Tokyo court rules that reposting dialogue alone would have been enough for it to rule in manga publisher’s favor.

In October, Shogakukan, one of Japan’s largest manga publishers, filed a complaint in a Tokyo district court regarding six videos uploaded to YouTube. The videos contained images and text reprints from Ushijima the Loan Shark, a series currently running in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits weekly comic anthology.

The complaint argues that the videos, edited in such a way as to function as a recap of the manga’s recent chapters, are a violation of the publisher’s copyright and acting as a substitute for the actual product, thus causing the company financial harm. On November 27, the court ruled in favor of Shogakukan, issuing an order of provisional disposition commanding YouTube to provide account information to aid the authorities in identifying the uploader. Once their identity is confirmed, Shogakukan says it plans to pursue both civil and criminal charges against him or her.

What’s more, the court implied that it would still have ruled in favor of Shogakukan, even if the videos hadn’t gone as far as they actually did. The court confirmed its position that even without the presence of art lifted from the comics, the direct and exact reprinting of its dialogue alone, even in pure text form, would have constituted a misuse of Shogakukan’s intellectual property.

Again, though, it’s worth bearing in mind that while media reports from Japan refer to the offending videos and others of their type as “spoiler videos,” this particular lawsuit isn’t a case of Shogakukan going after a fan or reviewer for just talking about the work and revealing plot points. Instead, it’s an example of a publisher going after someone for reprinting its product while offering no sort of commentary or discussion, serving no purpose other than to act as a substitute to buying the product. As such, it doesn’t seem like the company is looking to send out cease and desist orders to anyone who’s blabbing about what happens in the latest issues of their manga, so long as they do so in their own words.

Source: Anime! Anime! via Anime News Network/Jennifer Sherman, NHK News Web, The Sankei News
Top image: Pakutaso