A Japanese government official with the Secretariat of Intellectual Property Strategy has clarified the governments position on cosplay and copyright.
In a recent interview with the blog Manga Planet, an unnamed staffer with the Secretariat of Intellectual Property clarified the governments position on cosplay. This explanation comes amid concerns that the Japanese government might punish cosplayers.
In the interview, the staffer explains that despite recent changes to the law regarding cosplay and copyright; the government’s intent is to simply clarify the relationship between the two.
“Since the Government of Japan is pleased that the Japanese cosplay culture has gotten popular across the globe, it is our position to encourage cosplay to expand more to the world as one of the most interesting aspects of Japanese pop culture. Minister Inoue would love to support the cosplay culture and encourage cosplayers. The government’s aim is not to restrict any cosplay activities.”
The staffer goes on to explain that these new rules are to minimize confusion; they claim that the legal status of cosplay (particularly when used to make money) could potentially run afoul of existing laws. These new rules were allegedly made with the intention of minimizing this confusion, and streamlining and potential application process.
“Generally, most cosplayers enjoy cosplay without worrying about any copyright issues but some experts have pointed out that cosplayers might violate copyright laws under certain circumstances. For instance, while our law requires cosplayers to obtain permissions in certain cases, our laws and regulations can be so complicated that cosplayers find it hard to decide whether they should apply for permissions or to whom or how. It is also worth noting that some of the popular cosplayers are often asked whether they hold official permissions to cosplay or not by third parties, which might make the cosplayers feel insecure that they are doing something wrong and start feeling scared, losing the fun in cosplaying.”
The Japanese cosplayer Enako has explained some of her own tips for avoiding copyright issues such as wearing original character designs when appearing on TV or at events.