What's Copyright?

As a result of mental operations, the right that the creatress exclusively uses the work of art and literature, Academic, the art, and the music invented is defended by the Copyright Law.

Creation and exploitation of scientific works

The Copyright Law defines "works" as a "production of man in which thoughts or sentiments are expressed in a creative way," such as manuscripts, paintings, and photographic works, and these fall under any of the literary, scientific, artistic or musical domains. Manuscripts, images, etc. of a scientific nature fall under the scientific domain.

In many cases, scholars or researchers create such manuscripts, drawings, and photographs, and they become "authors" under the Copyright Law.

The processes of exploitation by parties other than the author of the scientific works which have been made public may be broadly broken down into three types: namely (1) to study and observe the scientific works and extract facts, data, theories, ideas, etc. from them, (2) to develop the party's own research or activities from the extracts acquired in the preceding process, and (3) to develop translations or compilations, databases from the extracts.

Exploitation of works and copyrights

The copyright is the author's right to protect his/her works from exploitation by another person against his/her will. A person who wants to exploit another person's works must obtain authorization to exploit the works from the author, or an owner of the copyright for the works; otherwise, the person's act shall constitute infringement of the copyright on the works. In the above mentioned case of exploitation of (1), the act of copying or transmitting by facsimile or computer the works is not permitted without the consent of the copyright owner. Likewise, in the case of exploitation of (3), the act of printing the works, or of developing a derivative work from the works, is not permitted without the consent of the copyright owner.

Protection of copyright is limited to protection of expression but does not cover facts, ideas, etc. Therefore, research and activities in the above-mentioned case of (2) can be conducted without restriction, provided that such an act does not exploit the expression of the works.

The copyright is the right which the author should enjoy; however, the author can transfer his/her copyright in whole or in part to another person. In the case of scientific works, in particular, intra-organizational rules stipulating that the academic society to which the author belongs, instead of the author himself/herself, shall have the copyright are common. Also, organizations called "Management Business Operator of Copyright and Neighboring Rights," like the Japan Academic Association for Copyright Clearance (JAACC), which specifies methods of exploitation of works, license exploitation of copyrights and collection and distribution of royalties, on behalf of a large number of copyright owners, are operational.

Copyright and moral rights

In addition to the copyright to protect economic benefits associated with exploitation of the works, the Copyright Law provides authors with moral rights to protect the personal values of the authors. Changing the author's name or expression of the works without the consent of the author constitutes infringement of the moral rights of the author.

The moral rights are exclusive to the author and are inalienable. The copyright or moral rights are conferred on the author with the creation of works, without the need for registration, unlike the patent right, etc. (industrial property). The copyright shall, in principle, continue to subsist until the end of a period of fifty years following the death of the author, and the moral rights subsist until the death of the author.

Regarding exploitation of works, free use is permissible, with certain restrictions, in such special cases as reproduction by users themselves, or when using the copy services of libraries. Thus, copyright and exploitation of works are reconciled. Such a legal framework has been internationally accepted by virtue of such treaties as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Infringement and the copyright law

The copyright owner can pursue civil and criminal responsibilities against those who infringe his/her copyright or moral rights. The Copyright Law provides cessation of the state of infringement, compensation for the damages, and penal provisions against infringement of the rights.

Law on Management Business of Copyright and Rights

The Law on Management Business of Copyright and Neighboring Rights was enforced in 2001 to enable... Read more


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