Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement Worries Doujinshi Makers

Synchronized regulations could affect when copyrights are enforced

Basically, Trans-Pacific Partnership is free trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific to eliminate tariffs, remove other non-tariff barriers, and synchronize regulations. Affects such as lower environment regulations and higher medicine costs have been very controversial. And, Tokyo based businessman and amateur manga artist Tatsuya Usami has asked, "what about doujinshi?"


Usami spoke to The Asahi Shimbun about his worries concerning how a potential TPP related piracy crackdown may change Japan's doujinshi culture.  At issue, there's discussion that some countries are demanding that Japan clamp down intellectual property infringements, even if the copyright holder does not object to it.

Under current Japanese copyright law, authorities take action only after the copyright holder, such as the artist of the original work or publisher, lodges a formal complaint.


At Comiket 87, Usami explained his background  and point of vieww “It is difficult for me to build characters from scratch since I am not a professional. People who buy my manga like it if I can manipulate well-known, attractive characters in a way that pleases me.”

“Even if the copyright holder does not take issue with the publication of dojinshi, if we are busted by authorities based on a tip from a third party, our freedom of expression will be suppressed,” Usami said.


Copyright laywer Kensaku Fukui explains that copyright holders are likely not currently being significantly inconvenienced by dojinshi creators.

“The creation of derivative works has helped the expansion of the market (for anime and manga), a rich gray zone built based on a gentleman’s agreement between original artists and amateur creators,” he said.


However, Kensaku thinks that the changes could affect doujinshi, other parodies and even cosplayers especially if their costumes were elaborately made and if a video of the costume play was posted online.


Other experts say that cosplay and other derivative works are unlikely to be targeted if they keep the work and its display private.


Various notables have weighed in against these potential developments. 

Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima!) explained "I, too, used to be a dojinshi creator. The larger a pool of amateurs there is, the better professional artists’ skills get.”


Read more here


Scott Green is editor and reporter for anime and manga at geek entertainment site Ain't It Cool News. Follow him on Twitter at @aicnanime.

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