Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Japan

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This page provides an overview of copyright rules of Japan relevant to uploading works into Wikimedia Commons. Note that any work originating in Japan must be in the public domain, or available under a free license, in both Japan and the United States before it can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. If there is any doubt about the copyright status of a work from the Japan, refer to the relevant laws for clarification.

Governing laws

Japan has been a member of the Berne Convention since 15 July 1899, the World Trade Organization since 1 January 1995 and the WIPO Copyright Treaty since 6 March 2002.[1] As of 2018 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, listed the Copyright Act (Act No. 48 of May 6, 1970, as amended up to Act No. 35 of May 14, 2014) as the main IP law enacted by the legislature of Japan.[1] WIPO holds the text of this law in their WIPO Lex database.[2] In December 2018, the Agency for Cultural Affairs announced that the copyright term has been extended from 50 years to 70 years after the author's death, complying with the agreement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.[3] This doesn't affect the work that has already been in public domain before 30 December 2018.

Durations

Under the Copyright Act (Act No. 48 of May 6, 1970, as amended up to Act No. 30 of May 25, 2018),

  • Copyright subsists for the life of the author plus 70 years.[35/1970-2018 Art. 51]
  • If the work is anonymous or pseudonymous, the copyright lasts for 70 years after the publication or the death of the author, whichever is the earlier.[35/1970-2018 Art. 52]
  • Cooperative works: 70 years from first publication (or creation if unpublished).[35/1970-2018 Art. 53]
  • The copyright of a work in the name of an organization expires 70 years after publication, or 70 years after the creation if the work is not published within 70 years after creation.[1899-1931 Art. 53]
  • The preceding provision shall not apply when the author registers the work to the copyright office while the protection period specified in the preceding provision.[1899-1931 Art. 53.2]
  • For audio recordings, the term is 70 years after publication. See {{PD-Japan-audio}} for details.
  • The copyright period has been extended from 50 years to 70 years in 2018. Works whose copyright has expired before the effective date are not affected.
  • Since June 18, 2003, cinematographic works are exceptionally protected for 70 years, instead of 50 years, after the publication, or 70 years after the creation if the film is not published within 70 years of the creation.[1899-1931 Art. 54]
    • 38 years after the creator's death if it was published as his work before 1971.[1899-1931 Art. 22-3][1899-1969 Art. 3][4]
    • All films produced in Japan prior to 1953 and directed by a person who died more than 38 years ago are in the public domain. See template {{PD-Japan-film}} for details.
  • Photographs: 10 years from first publication (or creation if unpublished) before 1957.[1899-1931 Art. 23]
  • Copyright protection for photographs published on or before December 31, 1956 has been ended, whether the author is alive or not.
  • The term of protection for works from 1970 or before is the longer of the term under the old Copyright Act and that under the current Copyright Act. This provision especially affects the copyright status of cinematographic works.
  • There is an extension for Axis powers in WWII, which is essentially 11 years added to the copyright protection length.
  • If the work was also published in the U.S. within 30 days (or it was first published in the United States), it was also protected under U.S. law but not affected by the URAA restoration. See Commons:PD files and Commons:Hirtle chart.

Not protected

Under the Copyright Act (Act No. 48 of May 6, 1970, as amended up to Act No. 35 of May 14, 2014) the following are not eligible for copyright.[35/1970-2014 Art. 13]

  1. the Constitution and other laws and regulations;
  2. public notices, instructions, circular notices and the like issued by organs of the State or local public entities, incorporated administrative agencies ... or local incorporated administrative agencies ...;
  3. judgments, decisions, orders and decrees of courts, as well as rulings and judgments made by government agencies in proceedings of a quasi-judicial nature;
  4. translations and compilations prepared by organs of the State or local public entities, incorporated administrative agencies or local incorporated administrative agencies of [any of] the materials listed in the preceding three items.

Terms

Individual works

Date of author's death Date of publication Copyright tag
– December 31, 1945 – December 31, 1923 {{PD-Japan}} + {{PD-old-auto-expired}}
{{PD-Japan}}{{PD-old-auto-expired|deathyear=death year}}
– December 31, 1945 January 1, 1924 – December 31, 1957
January 1, 1971 –
{{PD-Japan}} + {{PD-old-auto-1996}}
{{PD-Japan}}{{PD-old-auto-1996|country=Japan|deathyear=death year}}
– December 31, 1945 January 1, 1958 – December 31, 1970 {{PD-Japan}} + {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}The work was still in copyright in Japan on the date of URAA restoration (January 1, 1996) because copyright of the posthumous work was valid for 38 years from its publication before 1971.[1899 Art. 4][1969 Art. 52-1]
{{PD-Japan}}{{Not-PD-US-URAA|country=Japan}}
January 1, 1946 – December 31, 1967 – December 31, 1923 {{PD-Japan}} + {{PD-old-auto-expired}}
{{PD-Japan}}{{PD-old-auto-expired|deathyear=death year}}
January 1, 1924 – {{PD-Japan}} + {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}[note 1]
{{PD-Japan}}{{Not-PD-US-URAA|country=Japan}}
Others The work is still protected under Japan law.

Anonymous or Pseudonymous works

If the author of the work is unveiled during its copyright term, it is protected as an individual work. e.g. Osamu Tezuka (手塚 治, died in 1989) and his pen name "手塚 治虫" are well-known among people, so his works will be protected in Japan until 2059.

Date of publication Copyright tag
– December 31, 1923 {{PD-Japan}} + {{PD-anon-expired}}
{{PD-Japan}}{{PD-anon-expired}}
January 1, 1924 – December 31, 1945 {{PD-Japan}} + {{PD-anon-auto-1996}}
{{PD-Japan}}{{PD-anon-auto-1996|country=Japan|publication=year}}
January 1, 1946 – December 31, 1967 {{PD-Japan}} + {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}[note 1]
{{PD-Japan}}{{Not-PD-US-URAA|country=Japan}}
Others The work is still protected under Japan law.

Cooperative works

Date of publication Copyright tag
– December 31, 1923 {{PD-Japan-organization}} + {{PD-US-expired}}
{{PD-Japan-organization}}{{PD-US-expired}}
January 1, 1924 – December 31, 1945 {{PD-Japan-organization}} + {{PD-1996}}
{{PD-Japan-organization}}{{PD-1996|country=Japan}}
January 1, 1946 – December 31, 1967 {{PD-Japan-organization}} + {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}[note 1]
{{PD-Japan-organization}}{{Not-PD-US-URAA|country=Japan}}
Others The work is still protected under Japan law.

Old photographs

Date of creation Date of publication Copyright tag
– December 31, 1946 Any date {{PD-Japan-oldphoto}}
{{PD-Japan-oldphoto}}
January 1, 1947 – December 31, 1956 – December 31, 1956[5] {{PD-Japan-oldphoto}}
{{PD-Japan-oldphoto}}
January 1, 1957 – (within 10 years) Judged under 1970 Copyright law. (as an individual work or pseudonymous work)
Not published within 10 years from creation {{PD-Japan-oldphoto}}
{{PD-Japan-oldphoto}}
January 1, 1957 – Any date Judged under 1970 Copyright law. (as an individual work or pseudonymous work)

Exceptions

  • For some government works, {{PD-Japan-exempt}}
  • For pre-1953 films directed by a person who died more than 38 years ago. This may not exclude the company's work. e.g. In 2006, Roy Export Company Establishment sued a Japanese company that was copying Sunnyside (1919) and other pre-1953 films directed by Charlie Chaplin. Tokyo distinct court judged that Chaplin held their copyright. They have been protected until 2015 (38 years after his death, according to the older copyright law) or 70 years after their publication, plus more additional period by the wartime prolongation.[6]
  • {{PD-Japan-film}} + choose from {{PD-US-expired}}, {{PD-1996}} (–1945) or {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} (1946–1953)
  • For other films, No one expires copyright yet. (earliest 2025)
  • FoP (photographs of an architectural work) {{FoP-Japan}} + free license tag for the image
  • FoP (photographs of the copyrighted artwork or sculpture located in a public space) {{NoFoP-Japan}} (Not accepted on Commons)[7]

Copyright tags

Shortcut
COM:TAG Japan

See also: Commons:Copyright tags

  • {{PD-Japan-oldphoto}} – for Japanese photos published before 31 December 1956, or photographed before 1946 and not published for 10 years.
  • {{PD-Japan}} – for Japanese non-photographic works 70 years after the death of the creator (there being multiple creators, the creator who dies last).
  • {{PD-Japan-film}} – for films produced in Japan prior to 1953
  • {{PD-Japan-organization}} – for images of the works in names of organizations/companies/corporations 70 years after the publication
  • {{PD-Japan-exempt}} – for works exempt from copyright in Japan
  • {{GJSTU1}} - For information made available on government websites under the Government of Japan Standard Terms of Use (Version 1.0).

Non-copyright tags:

  • {{FoP-Japan}} may be added to a picture that includes architectural works, which are allowed under the "freedom of panorama" rule, but other tags should be given to show the picture's copyright status in Japan and the United States.
  • {{AerialPhotograph-mlitJP}} – The copyright holder, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, allows anyone to use th image for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed.

Currency

Shortcut
COM:CUR Japan

See also: Commons:Currency

✓OK The designs of the Japanese banknotes are published as state-issued 'Notifications' which exempt them from copyright protection under Copyright Law of Japan.[8] {{PD-Japan-exempt}} applies to them. [9]

De minimis

Shortcut
COM:DM Japan

See also: Commons:De minimis

Copyright Act Article 30-2, amended in 2012, states:

  • Article 30-2: When creating a copyrighted work of photography, sound recording or video recording, other copyrighted items that are incidental subjects of the work because they are hard to be separated from the item that is a subject of the work may be copied or translated along the work being created (only if they are minor components of the work being created). However, if, considering the kinds of the incidentally included works and the manner of the copying or translation, it unfairly is prejudicial to the interest of the copyright holders of the incidentally included works, they may not.[10]

Freedom of panorama

Shortcut
COM:FOP Japan

See also: Commons:Freedom of panorama

  • for artistic works: X mark.svg Not OK {{NoFoP-Japan}} except in cases governed by Article 46.
  • for buildings only: Symbol OK.svgOK {{FoP-Japan}}

The Copyright Act (Act No. 48 of May 6, 1970, as amended up to Act No. 35 of May 14, 2014), allows the reproduction of artistic works located permanently in open places accessible to the public, such as streets and parks, or at places easily seen by the public, such as the outer walls of buildings, only for non-commercial purposes. Therefore, such photographs are not free enough for Commons.

Architectural works (i.e., buildings) located in such places may be photographed and the photos may be reproduced for any purposes, which contains the "non-commercial" restriction, and applies only to "artistic works".[1899-1931 Art. 46(iv)] Some buildings like the Tower of the Sun can be regarded as artistic works per discussion.

Note: According to Japanese copyright law, Japan has a copyright lifetime of 70 years after the death of the author (ie. creator/designer) or following "the death of the last surviving co-author in the case of a joint work." Henceforth, the author's works shall become copyright free and enter the public domain.[1899-1931 Art. 51]

Stamps

See also: Commons:Stamps/Public domain

Copyrighted Stamps more than 70 years old or published before 1 January 1968 are in the public domain, per {{PD-Japan}}.

Threshold of originality

Shortcut
COM:TOO Japan

See also: Commons:Threshold of originality

Logos in the gallery below are Symbol OK.svgOK to upload. Article 2 of Japanese copyright law defines that a work is eligible for copyright when it is a production in which thoughts or sentiments are expressed in a creative way and which falls within the literary, scientific, artistic or musical domain.[11]

Japanese courts have decided that to be copyrightable, a text logo needs to have artistic appearance that is worth artistic appreciation. Logos composed merely of geometric shapes and texts are also not copyrightable in general.

Asahi logo.svg (DR) Letters are a means of communication, shared by anyone. Copyright protection of fonts is limited only to those that raise artistic appreciation as much as artistic works do.[12]
Cup Noodles.jpg (DR) Although the shape is stylized, the text is in a normal arrangement and keeps its function of being read as a sequence of letters.[13]
Olympic flag.svg The Court is negative towards recognizing the symbol as a copyrightable work of fine arts, because it is considered merely relatively simple graphic elements.[14]
  • Furby toy: utilitarian, so not protected by copyright as an artistic work. Not utilitarian in the United States, so photos of the toy can't be uploaded to Commons.[15]

See also

Notes

  1. a b c The work may be protected by copyright under U.S. law. because its copyright in the U.S. was restored by the URAA. However, the current policy on Commons is to accept it. This policy may change in the future, depending on the outcome of community discussions. Also, it may be deleted if Commons receive a valid takedown notice.

Citations

  1. a b Japan Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights). WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization (2018). Retrieved on 2019-01-22.
  2. Copyright Act (Act No. 48 of May 6, 1970, as amended up to Act No. 35 of May 14, 2014). Japan (2014). Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
  3. 平成30年12月30日施行 環太平洋パートナーシップに関する包括的及び先進的な協定(TPP11協定)の発効に伴う著作権法改正の施行について. Agency for Cultural Affairs.
  4. Copyright Act 1970, Supplementary Provision Act No. 85 of June 18, 2003
  5. Copyright Act 1899 (revised in 1969), Art. 52–3
  6. >2006 Wa 15552 : The case of the claim for suspension of copyright violation. Court precedent : Search results (in Japanese) (PDF). Court of Japan. Tokyo District Court Civil Division 29 (2007-08-29). Retrieved on 2016-12-30.
  7. w:ja:Wikipedia:屋外美術を被写体とする写真の利用方針 (Criteria for using a photograph of the artwork located in a public space) at Japanese Wikipedia
  8. 日本のお金 近代通貨ハンドブック 大蔵省印刷局編 (Japan's Money Modern Currency Handbook Ministry of Finance Printing Bureau) 119 (1994).
  9. Ministry of Finance Notification No. 76, 1984: Specifications of the Bank of Japan Notes scheduled to be introduced on November 1, 1984 - 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000 yen note.
  10. いわゆる「写り込み」等に係る規定の整備について. Agency for Cultural Affairs.
  11. [1][2]
  12. Tokyo High Court 平成6(ネ)1470 [3]
  13. Tokyo High Court 昭和55(行ケ)30, Supreme Court 昭和55(行ツ)75) [4]
  14. (Tokyo District Court 昭39(ヨ)第5594 [5]
  15. Sendai High Court ruling
Caution: The above description may be inaccurate, incomplete and/or out of date, so must be treated with caution. Before you upload a file to Wikimedia Commons you should ensure it may be used freely. See also: Commons:General disclaimer