On January 24, 2005, Copyright Council at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology released a list of issues to be discussed in the Japanese Copyright Reform (the document can be found here, but only in Japanese.)
Below is a brief summary of issues listed in this document, as well as concrete topics that the council started to discuss in the current committees.
There are four categories on the list, which are:
(1) Basic Issues
(2) Issues related to Digitization
(3) Issues related to Copyright Contracts and Exploitation of Copyrighted Work
(4) Issues related to Legal Remedy
Each category includes several copyright issues, with very brief explanation.
In this entry, I'll explain the "basic issues."
(1) Basic Issues
1-1 Review of Levi System
* Whether the current levy system on devices should be extended to multi-functional devices (such as hard disc drive in PCs, CD-R/RW drive)
1-2 Review of Copyright Limitation Statutes
* Consider expansion of copyright limitation regarding reproduction made in the process of patent examination, pharmaceutical examination, or other administrative processes.
* Consider expansion and clarification of copyright limitation statutes regarding library use, educational use etc.
* Consider to delegate some of the copyright limitation statutes (such as those related to school education) to government ordinances in order to allow more flexible, quicker response to social changes.
1-3 Review of Private Copying Statute
* Consider to clarify and review the scope of the private copying exemption statute in the current copyright law, with an attention to the limitation set forth by the Berne Convention (“provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.”)
1-4 Review of Rules regarding Joint Ownership of Copyright
* In order to enhance smoother exploitation of joint copyright, consider to revise the rules, such as: requiring consent from all co-owners when granting a license, etc.
1-5 More Protection for Licensees?
* Currently, Licensees of copyright are not entitled to seek injunction. Therefore, sometimes people "assign" copyright for limited time and of limited scope, which makes legal relationship complicated. To avoid such complexity, consider to give stronger protection to licensees, and to create a registration system where exclusive licensees can be registered and can give proper notice of their rights to third parties.
1-6 Copyright Duration
* Given the fact that many developed countries have copyright duration of authors’ lives plus 70 years, discuss whether Japan should extend the duration from life plus 50 years to 70 years.
* Discuss whether to repeal the special treatment of additional duration given to works of authors, who were, during the World War II, nationals of the Allied Forces.
1-7 Delegation to government ordinances
* Discuss whether it is possible to delegate some copyright regulations to government ordinances in order to quickly respond to social changes such as progress of information technologies.
1-8 Review the Wordings of Copyright Law
* In order to make copyright law easier for people to understand, consider to simplify the wordings, clarify the statutes, or add other necessary adjustments.
* Correct some inconsistency of wordings within copyright law.