Copyright is a form of intellectual property applicable to certain forms of an author’s original and creative work. Originality means the work is not copied, and creativity means that it evidences some thought. Copyright is a legal right that grants the author exclusive rights for its use and distribution.

The Japan Copyright Law gives the copyright owner the exclusive right to:

  • Reproduce the work
  • Control over derivative works of the work
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public
  • Perform or display the work publicly

Copyright protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form of expression, meaning that the works may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Examples of copyrighted works include:

  • Literary works (novels, books and magazines)
  • Musical works
  • Dramatic works (movies, plays, and TV shows)
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works (paintings, photographs, sculptures)
  • Audio-visual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works
  • Computer Software (the literal code and the structure, sequence, and organization of a program)

Copyright notice is not required because copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. However, there are advantages to using a copyright notice since it advises potential infringers that the work is protected by copyright, and it can be used to show that the infringement was not an accident. A copyright notice includes (1) the symbol ©, the word “Copyright”, (2) the publication year, and (3) the owner’s name.

MARKS IP Law Firm provides consultation to clients concerning the unauthorized reproduction, display, distribution, and performance of their works or the creation of derivative works. In many instances, we are able to resolve disputes through negotiations.