What can we learn from Japanese anime industries? The differences between domestic and overseas copyright protection strategies towards fan activities

T. He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recently the Japanese government revised its copyright law, and one of the major changes in it is that illegal downloaders in Japan now face up to two years' imprisonment or a fine of (sic)2 million (approximately US$19,265), or a combination of the two for downloading certain kinds of copyrighted content. These momentous changes have triggered backlashes around the country from below, as might be expected. Interestingly, the industrial practices of Japanese content industries have developed certain domestic and foreign copyright-related strategies that tolerate some alleged copyright-infringing fan activities.

This paper argues that, although some of these strategies are incompatible with the current copyright law regime, and specifically the aforementioned revision to Japan's copyright law, they have unconsciously created unexpected positive outcomes. This paper uses an integrative approach that combines market analysis and comparative law methods to examine these copyright strategies, and proposes an alternative solution to deal with the copyright problems raised by fan-based activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1042
Number of pages33
JournalThe American Journal of Comparative Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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