Intellectual Property and General Legal Principles

Intellectual Property and General Legal Principles

Is IP a Lex Specialis?

ATRIP Intellectual Property series

Edited by Graeme B. Dinwoodie

The rule of lex specialis serves as an interpretative method to determine which of two contesting norms should be used to govern. In this book, the lex specialis label is broadly applied to intellectual property and connects a series of questions: What is the scope of intellectual property law? What is the relationship between intellectual property law and general legal principles? To what extent are intellectual property laws exceptional? Drawn together by leading IP scholar Graeme Dinwoodie, these questions and others are answered carefully and reflectively by a team of expert international contributors.

Chapter 7: Private ordering and consumers’ rights in copyright law: A view of Japanese consumers

Branislav Hazucha, Hsiao-Chien Liu and Toshihide Watabe

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


Once persons purchase something, they can conventionally do with their acquisition anything they want within the limits of the law. They can use it for their personal purposes. They can read their books, can listen to their music CDs and can watch their movie DVDs whenever, wherever and however they want, unless such uses interfere with the copyright holder’s exclusive rights granted by copyright law. They can lend any of those things to their friends. They can make MP3 files from their music CDs in order to listen to those sound recordings on their MP3 file players. They can make back-up copies of their computer programs for cases of emergency where the original CD-ROMs or DVDs containing the computer programs are damaged. They can destroy or sell their tangible things to other persons in a garage sale or online auction. This freedom has traditionally been reflected in copyright law by limiting the scope of exclusive rights granted to copyright holders so that an adequate and proper balance is struck between the private interests of copyright holders on the one side and the interests of the public and consumers of copyrighted works on the other.

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