Copyright Support Office

To put it simply, "copyright" is the right to permit or prohibit the use of copyrighted works by those who wish to use them.

In recent years, the need for copyright protection has increased with the advancement of information technology. Furthermore, with the spread of broadband and the progress of digitalization, new types of copyrighted works will likely be developed and distributed in the future.

Under these circumstances, legal disputes regarding copyright are expected to become more diverse and complex. Understanding the role that copyrighted works play in society and protecting them appropriately will lead to the development of a country's culture.

At our patent office, we respond to your questions and requests regarding works and copyrights, such as ``Is there any procedure required to obtain a copyright?'' and ``What happens if I use a copyrighted work without permission?'' Our specialized staff will respond quickly and carefully.

  Director of Copyright Support Office Patent Attorney Kengaku Takeda


Current state of copyright law

 Nowadays, as the information society progresses and all kinds of information can be easily accessed through the Internet, copyright law has an important meaning.
 In the past, creators (authors) were writers, artists, and musicians, and the works (copyrighted works) created by them were transmitted by mass media (publishers, broadcasters, record companies, etc.). I did.
 Nowadays, by using SNS, anyone can easily disseminate their works to the general public, and anyone can access them without going through the mass media and publish their evaluations.
 In addition to the current situation where anyone can easily send and access information, anyone can now easily copy and paste and manipulate images and videos, so copyright issues are everywhere. It is no exaggeration to say that it is hidden in the

Purpose of copyright law

 The purpose of copyright law is to harmonize the rights of creators (authors) to their works and the distribution of useful information to society, which in turn promotes the development of culture.

Applicability of copyrighted work

 Although the rights of authors are legally established as strong, the benefits that society in general receives from distributing works to society in general are greater than the benefits that authors receive from protecting their rights. If the copyright is large, the rights of the copyright holder will be restricted.
Furthermore, even though a work has been created, it may not be worthy of protection as a copyrighted work in the first place, or the period of protection may end after a long period of time.

About this website

 The Copyright Act mainly stipulates the requirements for a work to be protected as a work, the rights held by the copyright holder, and cases in which the copyright holder's rights may be restricted and the work may be used without permission. However, many people may not be aware of the specific content.
 This website provides content that explains the provisions of copyright law as clearly as possible. Please feel free to use this as a reference. If you have any questions, please call us and our professional staff will be happy to provide you with a detailed explanation.

For corporate copyright personnel



copyright system

copyright system

Works and authors

 Works created through creative activities such as novels, paintings, music, and movies are called copyrighted works, and the person who created them is called an author, and Japan has established copyright laws regarding these works.


About copyrighted works

(1) Matters regarding definitions

 According to the Copyright Act, a copyrighted work is defined in Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 1 as follows:

"A creative expression of thoughts or feelings that falls within the scope of literature, science, art, or music."

 There are a variety of things that people make, but only those that fit this definition are protected by copyright law as works.

 However, this definition is very abstract, and it may be difficult to get a concrete image of the copyrighted work. Therefore, each item of Article 10, Paragraph 1 of the Copyright Act provides examples of copyrighted works.

 That is,

  • ①Novels, screenplays, papers, lectures, and other written works in languages ​​(No. 1)
  • ② Musical works (No. 2)
  • ③ Works of dance or silent drama (No. 3)
  • ④ Paintings, prints, sculptures and other works of art (No. 4)
  • ⑤ Architectural works (No. 5)
  • ⑥ Works of maps or drawings, diagrams, models, or other figures of an academic nature (No. 6)
  • ⑦Movie works (No. 7)
  • ⑧ Photographic works (No. 8)
  • ⑨Program works (No. 9)

 These are examples, so even if it is unclear whether a work falls under any of these examples (or even if it does not fall under any of them), anything that falls under the definition of Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 1 is protected as a copyrighted work. Let's be careful about this.
However, some provisions of the Copyright Act have special provisions stipulated for specific works that fall under any of the items of Article 10, Paragraph 1, and when the application of such special provisions is in question, It is necessary to determine which of the items in Article 10, Paragraph 1 applies.

(2) Regarding specific requirements

 The definition of a copyrighted work leads to four requirements for it to be protected as a copyrighted work. In other words, 1) it must contain "thoughts or emotions", 2) it must be "expressed", 3) it must have "creativity", and 4) it must "belong to the scope of literature, science, art, or music". is.

① Contains “thoughts or feelings”

 The purpose of the Copyright Act is to contribute to the development of culture through the protection of copyrighted works, so only works that can be said to be the result of human mental activity will be protected. However, the thoughts or feelings referred to here do not need to be sophisticated; it is sufficient that they express some kind of thought or feeling.
 On the other hand, works that do not involve human intervention are not recognized as works under copyright law, even if they are worthy of aesthetic appreciation.

② It must be “expressed”

 A work can only be a work if the thoughts and feelings in the author's head are expressed in a form that is recognizable to the outside world. This is because information that cannot be recognized from the outside is unclear and does not deserve legal protection.
 This leads to an important idea. In other words, what can be protected as a work is limited to what is expressed, and the ideas (thoughts, emotions, etc.) that gave rise to the expression are not protected as works. This is called the expression/idea dichotomy.
 This idea is the basis of copyright law, so even if the ideas and concepts behind the expressions of two works are the same, if the specific forms of expression are different, this does not constitute copyright infringement.

③ Must have “creativity”

 Copyright is a right to encourage intellectual and creative activities of human beings, so it is a right that is created through hard work and sweat (for example, information that is collected and compiled in chronological order). No matter what, it will not be protected unless it is the result of intellectual and creative activity. In other words, creativity is required.
 However, this requirement for creativity is very loosely judged, and it is considered that it is sufficient if some kind of individuality of the author is expressed. For example, creativity can be recognized in children's crayon drawings and ordinary diary entries that are not unusual.
 This is in contrast to the novelty and inventive step requirements of patent law, which require a high level of novelty and inventive step.

④ Belongs to “literature, academics, art, or music”

 This shows that copyright protects cultural products. In this respect, it differs from patent law and design law, which protect industrial products.
 Although this requirement lists the four fields of literature, academics, art, and music, it is not necessary to specifically specify which of these four fields it falls under in order to be protected as a work; If it is recognized as a product, it will be protected.


About the author

(1) Creatorism and its exceptions

 According to the Copyright Act, the term "author" is defined in Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Act as "a person who creates a copyrighted work," and the person who actually creates the copyrighted work is the author. The copyright originally belongs to that person. This is called the principle of creatorism.

 However, there are two amendments to Japan's copyright law. ① Works for hire (Article 15) and ② Copyright ownership of film works (Article 29).

① Works for hire (Article 15)…Correction of authorship

 This is a system in which when an employee of a corporation, etc. creates a work in the course of his/her work, under certain conditions, the author of the work is not the employee, but the corporation, etc. Since a corporation is the author, the corporation also owns all copyrights.

 *Please be careful to distinguish between the author and the copyright holder. The person who creates a work is the author and, in principle, is also the copyright holder who owns the copyright. However, although the identity of the author does not change once it has occurred, the ownership of the copyright may change due to transfer, etc., so the author and copyright holder may be different.

 The reason for allowing such modifications is to protect users and third parties.
 First, with regard to employer protection, if the copyright belongs to an individual employee, even though the work was created in the course of work based on the initiative of a corporation, etc., when the corporation, etc. uses the copyrighted work. It is complicated as it is necessary to obtain permission from each employee one by one.
 Additionally, since there is a risk of hindrance to business operations, it can be said that the user was trying to ensure smooth business operations by designating the author as a corporation.
 Next, regarding the protection of third parties, if a third party wishes to obtain permission to use a copyrighted work published in the name of a corporation, etc., the person who owns the copyright will have the right to do so. This can be said to be based on the idea that the relationship is clear and that it can be used smoothly.


② Copyright ownership of movie works (Article 29)…Correction of copyright ownership

 The copyright of a film copyrighted work belongs to the filmmaker, not the author, such as the director. In this case, the author and copyright holder are different. However, since moral rights are personal rights, they remain with the director, who is the author.
 The reasons why such amendments are allowed are: First, the production of a film requires a huge investment, and it is necessary to ensure that the filmmakers who have made the investment can receive an economic return commensurate with their investment. It's for a reason. By assigning all rights to screening, video production, etc. to filmmakers, we help filmmakers recover their investment.
 Second, movies are often works created jointly by many authors, such as the author of the music, the author of the scenario, the author of the pictures, etc.
 Therefore, if the copyright of a movie is shared among them, the use of the copyrighted work will become impossible if one person objects (Article 65, Paragraph 2), which will prevent the smooth use of the copyrighted movie. This is a measure to avoid this.



Various rights

A work expresses the thoughts and feelings of the author, so the personal interests of the author should be respected when handling it. At the same time, it also has the aspect of being an asset, as it is called the ``content industry.''

Various rights have been established to protect the personal interests of authors and the property value of their works. These rights arise from the moment you create a work, even if you do nothing (Article 17).


Moral rights of authors

Moral rights are personal rights and cannot be transferred from the author to someone else.

Right of publication (Article 18)

The right not to have copyrighted works published without permission.

Right to display name (Article 19)

This is the right to decide whether or not to display your name (real name, pen name) when presenting the copyrighted work or the copyrighted work.

Right to integrity (Article 20)

This is the right to keep the copyrighted work and its title intact and not to have it altered, removed, or otherwise altered against one's will.


Copyright is a property right, so it can be transferred or pledged.

In addition, we have exclusive rights regarding the use shown below, which are called division rights. On the other hand, unless you have the author's permission, other people are not allowed to do anything that falls under the right to share without permission (there is no problem with simply viewing the work).

  Eligible works (including specific examples)
*Other than oral rights, exhibition rights, distribution rights, transfer rights, and lending rights, there are no limitations on copyrighted works in the article.
Reproduction right No limitation
performance rights No limitations (performing by methods other than musical performances (including singing), e.g. drama, dance, silent drama, etc.)
right to perform No limitations (musical instrument performance, singing)
Screening rights No limitations (movies, books, photos)
Public transmission rights, etc. No limitation
right of dictation Language (poem reading)
Exhibition rights Fine art (paintings, sculptures, etc.), unpublished photographs
distribution rights movies
right of transfer Other than movies
Right to lend Other than movies
Translation rights, adaptation rights, etc. All
Rights of the original author regarding the use of derivative works All

is an intangible copy (→Use of copyrighted works

Right of reproduction (Article 21)

The right to copy copyrighted works.
"Reproduction" here refers to "tangible reproduction by printing, photography, copying, audio recording, video recording, or other methods" (Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 15), and non-tangible reproduction is subject to other subdivision rights. stipulated in.

  • What does “tangible” mean?
    → Refers to fixing to a recording medium, etc. Performances and broadcasts are intangible, as they do not remain in tangible form unless they are recorded.
  • Is converting ciphertext into plain text a copy? adaptation?
    →Since there is no real difference (difference in creativity) between the ciphertext and the plaintext, it is considered a copy. The same goes for transcribing lectures, transcribing songs, and mechanically converting source programs into object programs.
  • I heard that it's OK to quote some of them...
    →It may be OK.
    Reproducing even a part of a copyrighted work without permission is a violation of reproduction rights, as long as the originality of that part is recognized.
    However, copyright may be subject to "restrictions," one of which is "citation" (Article 32). →Use of copyrighted works

Performance rights (Article 22)

The right to perform a copyrighted work for the purpose of showing it directly to the public.

Who is “the public”?
→In general, it refers to an unspecified number of people, but under the Copyright Act, it includes ``specific and many people.'' Therefore, although the members of a university seminar cannot be said to be "unspecified," if they can be said to be "many," they fall under the category of "public."

Right to perform (Article 22)

The right to perform a copyrighted work for the purpose of making it available to the public.
"Performance/performance" here includes not only live performances, but also the act of playing back from CDs, etc.

Screening rights (Article 22-2)

This is the right to publicly display a copyrighted work (project it on a projection screen or other object).

Rights aren't just for movies! ?
→Includes everything projected on the screen. Slides, photo projection onto buildings, etc.

Right of public transmission, etc. (Article 23)

This is the right to publicly transmit a copyrighted work or to publicly communicate it using a receiving device.
If the public transmission is an automated public transmission (e.g. over the Internet), this also includes making the transmission possible.
Sending email to a specific person does not fall under this category as it is not sending to the "public".

Right of dictation (Article 24)

It is the right to publicly dictate works in a language.
It also includes the reproduction of oral recordings and the transmission using telecommunications facilities.

Exhibition rights (Article 25)

This is the right to publicly display authentic works of art or photographs that have not yet been published.

Distribution rights (Article 26)

This is the right to distribute copies of cinematic works (transfer or lend copies to the public). This provision is based on a distribution system for reproductions (films), so distribution of original works is not included.
If a film contains music, etc., it may also be distributed as a copy of the film.
This is a strong right to control the distribution of goods, including used goods.

Isn't it okay to upload a movie on the Internet and make it available for everyone to see, since it is not distributing "copies"?
→It is true that it is not a violation of distribution rights because it is not a distribution of "copies", butPublic transmission rightThis is not okay as it would be a violation of the . By the way, downloading a software while knowing that it is infringing is also an infringement (Article 30, Paragraph 1, Item 3).

Right of transfer (Article 26-2)

This is the right to transfer the original or a copy of a copyrighted work (excluding film copyrighted works) and make it available to the public.

  • I would like to purchase and sell T-shirts with pictures printed on them, but does this also constitute a violation of the transfer right?
    →If the company selling the original T-shirt has obtained permission from the copyright holder of the image and has transferred it to the public, your act of further transferring it does not constitute a violation of the transfer right (Article 26). 2 Section 2 No. 1). This is called "exhaustion."
  • I don't know if the company that sold it legally transferred the property...
    →Even if the right to transfer has not been exhausted, if the person was not aware of it at the time of receiving the transfer and there was no negligence in not knowing, it will be deemed that there is no violation of the right to transfer (Article 113-2).


Right to lend (Article 26-3)

This is the right to rent copies of copyrighted works (excluding film works) and provide them to the public.


Translation rights, adaptation rights, etc. (Article 27)

This is the right to translate, arrange, transform, dramatize, film, etc. the copyrighted work.

Rights of the original author regarding the use of derivative works (Article 28)

A work created by translating, arranging, transforming, or adapting a work, such as dramatizing or making it into a movie, is called a derivative work, and the author of the original work is responsible for the creation of the derivative work. have the same rights as the person who created the work (however, the general idea is that the rights are limited to the scope of the original work's rights).

  • Mr. A sent me a fan art of a manga I drew by email! Is it okay to post it on the website without permission?
    →No good (→right of publication,Reproduction right). When using a derivative work, it is necessary to obtain the consent of the creator of the derivative work, even if it is the original copyright holder.
  • Ah! Mr. B, who is unrelated, is copying and selling the fan art without permission! In this case, can I, the original author, take any action against Mr. B?
    →Yes. Based on the rights under Article 28, you can claim that Mr. B has infringed your right to reproduce and transfer the fan art that is the copyrighted work of Mr. A.

publishing rights

The term "publication rights" generally has two meanings.

  • 1. The copyright holder, etc. himself/herselfReproduction right,right of transferthe right to publish one's own work under
  • 2. The right of a third party who has received permission from the copyright holder to reproduce a copyrighted work for the purpose of distribution (Article 79 et seq. of the Copyright Act)

Under copyright law, the latter is called the right of publication. For more information"AgreementPlease see the page.


Related rights

Rights are not only granted to the person who created the work. People who perform, broadcast, and make records play a role in conveying copyrighted works to the world.
If such rights are not protected, those people will not be able to profit from them, and the works they have created will not be transmitted.
Therefore, rights under copyright law are also recognized by people who mediate copyrighted works.

  performer's rights Rights of record producers Rights of broadcasters/rights of cable broadcasters
Right to display name - -
right to identity - -
Reproduction right -
Recording rights/recording rights - -
Broadcasting rights/cable broadcasting rights - ○*
Right to enable transmission
Television broadcasting rights - -
Right to receive secondary royalties for commercial records -
right of transfer -
Lending rights, etc. -
Protection period 50 years since the demonstration took place 50 years since the sound source was published 50 years since broadcast/cable broadcasting began

* For broadcasters, rebroadcasting rights and cable broadcasting rights; for cable broadcasters, broadcasting rights and rebroadcasting rights



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