Edited by Toshiko Takenaka
Chapter 7: Japan’s copyright law revisions, disruptive innovation and user-generated content
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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