Japan to review the copyright rules for cosplay culture

Image of the article on copyright rules setting for cosplay

Currently, artists from across the world are free to celebrate the art of cosplay and dress as their favorite characters. But very soon, it might not remain free for them to do so. As a first-of-its-kind ruling, the Japanese government has begun to consider developing rules to prevent cosplay, which is becoming popular overseas, from becoming copyright problems.

They have proposed copyright rules setting for those who make money from cosplaying—and possibly, even for those who don’t.

  • The Japanese government is pleased that Japan’s cosplay culture has been accepted all across the world and many people celebrate the art of it
  • The government sees there have been no huge copyrights related troubles so far
  • However, the copyright law for cosplay culture doesn’t exist in Japan yet
  • Thus, they will be clarifying the potential issues to prevent cosplayers and creators in the world from unnecessary troubles

What is the copyright rule change proposed by the Japanese government?

Cosplay is a big business in Japan and the world. For eg: Few of Japan’s successful professional cosplayers earn approximately $90,000 a month from event appearances, TV commercials, chat sessions, endorsements, autograph signing, etc. Other smaller cosplayers also earn money by selling images or videos of them dressed as famous characters.

However, the original artists, publishers, etc, don’t earn any revenue out of this. The amendment is proposed to change this scenario and protect these creators.

The government of Japan is currently considering reviewing the country’s copyright rules so that professional cosplayers (or the brands who endorse them) would require to pay for use of such characters.

If an artist is cosplaying for non-commercial purposes, it does not violate copyright law. But if they earn revenue out of it, then a violation could occur, especially if an individual is paid to do so. Eg: Make a paid appearance at an event.

The Summary of Governmental Statements for now

  • The Japanese government will develop new copyright rules for cosplay
  • Recreational cosplay does not infringe any copyright rule in Japan and cosplayers can continue to celebrate their characters as usual
  • A copyright violation could occur if a cosplayer is paid for their cosplay
  • The government is still considering a common standardized set of rules that would enable an individual to contact copyright holders to secure permission

Any Comments by Japanese Politicians on this Matter?

An “Otaku Interests” politician, Taro Yamada, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Research Commission on Intellectual Property Strategy, said, “We need a framework to protect both (creators and cosplayers).” He has also proposed the creation of a database that allows people to easily identify copyright holders.

Another politician, Shinji Inoue, the minister in charge of the “Cool Japan” strategy, (an initiative for the promotion of Japanese pop culture overseas), stated that the government plans to review commercial copyright rules regarding fair use by the end of the fiscal year in March 2021.

Team Super Sugoii’s Thoughts

Super Sugoii believes that this is a positive development in standardizing the entire cosplay culture across the globe, starting from Japan.
With the Government’s support, a balance can be achieved in making this art-form, a full-time career option for artists.

Unfortunately in countries like India, Cosplayers have not been able to consider this art-form as a full-time profession. Many times cosplay artists are exploited in smaller events and activities and their art is taken for granted. Cosplayers deserve so much more.
Better visible clarity on the fees structure, the payment structure across the world, can elevate this entire genre to the next level, including the quality of cosplay. Even from a brand or an event’s perspective, this rule helps get a better clarity for financial budget planning and event planning.

With a positive enthusiasm, we are eagerly awaiting to see the development of this proposed rule.

Image of the article on copyright rules setting for cosplay

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