Intellectual Property in Common Law and Civil Law
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Intellectual Property in Common Law and Civil Law

Edited by Toshiko Takenaka

Drawing together the views and experiences of scholars and lawyers from the United States, Europe and Asia, this book examines how different characteristics embedded in national IP systems stem from differences in the fundamental legal principles of the two traditions. It questions whether these elements are destined to remain diverged, and tries to identify common ground that might facilitate a form of harmonization.
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Chapter 7: Japan’s copyright law revisions, disruptive innovation and user-generated content

Salil Mehra


In January 2010, several revisions to Japan’s Copyright Law became effective. In particular, knowingly downloading infringing copies of several varieties of copyrighted files was removed from an existing safe harbor for private copying. (Uploading infringing material had already been carved out.) Although specific penalties for the newly prohibited conduct were not set forth in the revisions, the change effectively sets down a marker concerning permissible conduct, and the government and copyright industry have publicized the effects of this change. The Copyright Law revisions, by their terms, did not move solely in the direction of stronger protection for copyright holders. Specifically, in the same set of revisions, data storage copies of others’ copyrighted works made in the context of computer processing, including by Internet search and indexing sites (such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing) were granted an explicit safe harbor from infringement actions.

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