copyright

Awesome phone booth aquarium removed from Japanese city due to copyright infringement

After years of attracting visitors from all over Japan, this quirky display has finally moved on.

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Manga Town would like to remind everyone that they are not Manga Town, a.k.a. Manga Village

This looks like a job for the manga zoning board.

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Evil barbershop punished by heroic copyright agency for playing stereo

Let that be a lesson to anyone who dares play a CD in a place where it might be overheard by someone else.

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“Winny Incident” movie wins huge crowdfunding support

After its crowdfunding target is smashed, writing begins on the story of how Japan stifled its own IT development in the name of combating file-sharing.

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Twitter user devises simple way to destroy Japan’s music copyright collective

The answer, my friends, was just blowin’ in the winds of Twitter.

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The times they are a-litigious: Kyoto University gets billed for using Bob Dylan lyrics in speech

Japan’s copyright enforcers ask: how many words must a man write down, before he can be shaken down?

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Korean chicken restaurant sued by Louis Vuitton for copyright infringement

A South Korean chicken restaurant owner got a rude awakening when he was slapped with a $12,800 fine for ripping off the famous French designer label’s name and monogram design.

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Answerman — Who polices anime copyrights?

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Japanese police arrest 44 in three days for alleged file-sharing

Arrests conducted with prefectural police in 29 prefectures.

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Japanese lawyer: Making cosplay for others is copyright infringement

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.

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7-Eleven oden ad refused by Tokyo Olympic Committee due to similarity to their logo

The dispute over the emblem for the 2020 Olympic games and its alleged plagiarism continues to simmer in Japan people are still suggesting alternatives to what are currently the most beleaguered geometric shapes in the world.

And then there are those who are embracing the still official emblem for what it is. Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is one such proponent. One franchise in Musashikoganei created a homage out of the delicious Japanese stewed food known as oden for a promotional posted to be hung in their store.

However, the Tokyo Olympic Committee politely refused use of the poster saying that the placement of foodstuffs infringed on the likeness of their emblem which is currently being accused of infringing on another logo.

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Thousands sign petition against TPP’s supposed copyright conditions

A few months ago, it was reported that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement may contain changes to copyright laws that many are calling “excessive.” In response to this, a growing number of lawyers, journalists, writers, and others involved in Japanese culture have signed a petition to convince the Japanese government to refuse such conditions.

If the agreement is reached, the minimum limit of copyrights could be extended by 20 years, and even non-copyright holders such as police and prosecutors may be given the ability to go after people for “infringements”. Those opposed feel that these changes could seriously damage the artistic freedom of Japan.

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And now, a heartwarming corporate anecdote featuring Nintendo and Bandai

Nintendo and Bandai are two of Japan’s biggest companies with the former really needing no introduction. Although Bandai (now under the auspices of Bandai Namco) is not quite the household name that Nintendo is, its name should be instantly recognizable to even modest video game and toy fans.

As such, you might expect these two organizations to be cold, merciless machines of corporate greed pursuing nothing but the fuel of money to continue their heartless existences…and you might be right. However, here is a small anecdote that says different in a classy chance exchange between these two titans of toys.

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Astro Simpson, Obama the Hedgehog, and more weird/depressing knockoff toys from around the world

Have you heard of the “moron in a hurry test“? It’s a legal test for trademark infringement. Basically, if you can successfully argue that “only a moron in a hurry” could confuse your product with another, you can get away with slightly ripping off somebody else’s design. But you’d have to be a real dingbat to confuse this gallery of 30 knockoff toys for the real things!

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When a single dot doesn’t do the trick: Legal trouble ensues for izakaya over name

We live in a world of innovation and inspiration. Every day, we see new products riffing on older ones, and apps that are purporting to be the next Instagram for Snapchat inspired by Vine.

But when does something cease to innovate and become a simple knock-off? Would you consider “Word・Press” a different web service from “WordPress”? How about if someone opened up a hamburger joint called “McDonalds” instead of “McDonald’s”? Well one izakaya in Hiroshima, Japan tested out this first example for us, and found that simply slipping a dot into its name didn’t allow it to get around copyright and trademark laws.

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Awkward: Official PlayStation montage features image taken from Wii U game, Pixiv user’s fan art

Take a quick look at the character-packed image above. That’s a whole lot of faces, right? And in the 20 years since Sony’s first video games console was released, they’ve all appeared on some PlayStation platform or other. Even if you’re more of an Xbox kid or a PC gamer, you have to admit that’s an impressive lineup, and for older PlayStation fans especially it’s bound conjure up a lot of happy gaming memories.

But in creating this image in honour of 20 years of PlayStation, it would seem that someone over at Sony Europe struggled to source one or two character images that really fit in with their vision. You’d think that being on the inside, an artist working for Sony would have access to a whole host of officially licensed images, but it looks like they decided to turn to the internet for help, using an image of Mega Man as he appears only in Nintendo’s latest edition of Super Smash Bros, and even borrowing a piece of fan art created by a Japanese Pixiv user, who later spotted their work on Sony’s official site. Awkward.

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Nintendo and Niconico are looking to pay you to use their copyrighted material

People who post game demonstrations such as walkthroughs and speed runs on video websites certainly put in a fair bit of effort in them. And for some part they’re acknowledged by those who view the videos. Heck, thanks to them I could find every pigeon in GTA:IV and finally get back to my busy life of eating pudding.

As such it’s not unreasonable to say they deserve some compensation for their efforts – just as long as it doesn’t come out of my pudding budget. But because they are working with copyrighted source material, it’s not always easy for these creative game enthusiasts to get paid.

Now, game-maker Nintendo and video site Niconico Douga are working together in the Creators Incentive Program in which rather than punish those who infringe on copyrights from holders like Nintendo, they will be given incentives based on the number of views they can rake in with their works.

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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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