著作権の制限 知的財産は厳格に守るべきだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 7, 2010)
Copyrights must be strictly protected
著作権の制限 知的財産は厳格に守るべきだ(7月6日付・読売社説)

We are concerned that a proposal by a government panel may destroy the basic premise of the Copyright Law that intellectual property rights must be strictly protected.

A subcommittee of the Cultural Affairs Council of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has proposed in an interim report the introduction of general provisions that would limit the exclusive rights of copyright holders--a Japanese version of the so-called fair use doctrine.

Japan's Copyright Law stipulates cases in which copyrighted materials may be used without the permission of the rights holders, such as the copying of materials by an individual for private use or citing them for reporting or research purposes.


For the greater good?

Under U.S. law, however, copyrighted materials can be used freely as long as it is considered fair use. This system is based on the idea that it will be of greater benefit to society if the abridgment and other utilization of copyrighted materials are allowed as fair use.

Whether a certain type of use is fair is decided by courts based on a comprehensive analysis of four factors, including the purpose of the utilization and its effect upon the potential market for the copyrighted work. There are more than 100 years of judicial precedents on fair use in the United States.

For instance, Google Inc. has begun digitizing publications based on the fair use doctrine without acquiring permission from their copyright holders. The Authors Guilds and the Association of American Publishers in the United States have filed a lawsuit against this digital database project.

There were fears initially that the project might infringe on the rights of Japanese authors and publishers, but Google later excluded Japan publications from its database.

The fair use system is disadvantageous to copyright holders.

The development of Internet technology is quickly changing how copyrighted materials are utilized. Some experts have said the introduction of U.S.-type general provisions would facilitate the use of copyrighted materials more than revising relevant provisions as needed would.


Abstract language risky

In the latest interim report, the subcommittee rejected the introduction of U.S.-style provisions on fair use. At the same time, it urged the introduction of general provisions to ease copyrights, so as to allow such practices as the inclusion of artwork in the background of portrait photos or the copying of musical works as needed to develop better technology for music reproduction.

The subcommittee is apparently envisioning provisions stated in abstract terms, such as allowing "incidental" use of copyrighted works, and probably aims to first introduce general provisions in fields where it is possible.  例えば、著作物の「付随的」利用を認めるといった、抽象的表現の規定を想定しているようだ。可能な分野から一般規定を導入するということなのだろう。

However, provisions that can be interpreted in various ways risk leading to infringement of intellectual property rights.

We believe that the use of copyrighted materials without acquiring the permission of the copyright holders should be limited in principle only to highly public fields such as education or journalism. It is reasonable to first acquire permission from copyright holders if something is to be used for business purposes.

If the contents of the Copyright Law do not correspond to reality, each provision should be revised as necessary. Laws can be revised quickly these days.

Among European countries, Germany and France have not introduced general provisions on limitations of copyrights.

Intellectual property rights are a boon for the creative activities of human beings. Legal revisions that could facilitate infringement of that will lead to serious problems in the future.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 6, 2010)
(2010年7月6日01時43分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2010-07-07 05:33 | 英字新聞

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