I. Background of Amendment
The Act Partially Amending the Copyright Act and the Act on Special Provisions for the Registration of a Computer Program Work (Act No. 48 of 2020) was enacted on June 5, 2020, and promulgated on June 12, 2020. The main points of the amendments and the dates of enforcement are as described in Section II below.
II. Main Points of the Amendments and Dates of Enforcement
(1) Measures against leech sites and leech apps (effective from October 1, 2020)
The following acts are deemed to constitute an infringement of the copyright etc., and are subject to not only claims for damages or an injunction, but also criminal penalties as an intentional offense prosecutable upon a complaint: (i) an act of intentionally or negligently providing, through leech sites or leech apps, information on links to copyrighted works that are illegally uploaded on other websites, and (ii) an act of a leech site operator or a leech app provider intentionally or negligently leaving the act of providing intentionally or negligently the links to copyrighted works that are illegally uploaded on other websites by any other person.
(2) Illegalization of an act of downloading copyright-infringing contents (effective from January 1, 2021)
An act of knowingly downloading any illegally uploaded copyrighted works (excluding derivative works other than translated works, and parodies) is considered to constitute an infringement of the right of reproduction even if such download is made for the purpose of personal use (excluding any act of downloading which is minor or does not unreasonably prejudice the interest of the right holder), and subject to claims for damages or an injunction and criminal penalties as an intentional offense prosecutable upon a complaint if such act is repeatedly and continuously performed, and a legitimate version of the relevant copyrighted work is provided for a fee.
There is no change to regulations concerning an act of illegally downloading music and videos.
(1) Expansion of limitation on copyrights in connection with incidental inclusion of copyrighted works (effective from October 1, 2020)
The scope of limitation on copyrights is expanded so that the incidental inclusion of a copyrighted work not only in a photograph and an audio or visual recording, but also in screen shot, live video streaming, computer graphics conversion, etc. is permitted.
(2) Development of provisions for limitation on copyrights for administrative proceedings (relating to the Geographical Indications Act and the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act) (effective from October 1, 2020)
It is permissible to reproduce any documents or literature necessary for not only patent examination procedures, etc., but also registration procedures for geographical indications or plant varieties, without authorization of right holders.
(3) Introduction of a system enabling an authorized user of a copyrighted work to assert its right against any third party (effective from October 1 2020)
A user of a copyrighted work who has a license to use granted by a right holder is able to duly assert its right against an assignee of copyright of the relevant work or any third party who has obtained the copyright, without any requirement for said assertion, such as registration of a license.
(1) Strengthening of Procedure for Collection of Evidence (effective from January 1, 2021)
In the case where a petition for an order to submit a document for proving infringement or calculating the amount of damage caused by infringement is filed in a copyright infringement lawsuit, the court is able to view the relevant document prior to determine whether to issue an order to submit the document, and to obtain support from technical advisers when determining the same.
(2) Strengthening of Protection for Access Control (effective from January 1, 2021)
License authentication using a serial code, which is a type of access control, is specified as being protected, and an act of illegally providing or otherwise making available a serial code is included in acts subject to the restrictions, and such act is deemed to constitute an infringement of the copyright etc., and subject to claims for damages or an injunction as well as criminal penalties.
(1) Systematization of requesting registration certificate to a designated registration agency (Software Information Center) (effective from the date designated by Cabinet Order within one (1) year after June 12, 2020 [the date of promulgation])
(2) Repeal of provisions exempting the State and incorporated administrative agencies from the payment of registration fees (effective from January 1, 2020)
※ The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide any legal advice.
Kei IIDA (Writer)
Attorney at Law & Patent Attorney (Daini Tokyo Bar Association)
Contact information for inquiries: mailto:email@example.com