FAQ about Copyright System of Japan

What kind of right is given to the author of a work?

Copyright protection reflects the following two interests: moral interests and economic interests, which correspond to moral rights and economic rights respectively.
First of all, copyright protection grants an author some exclusive rights relating to commercial exploitation of his/her work, which cover a wide range of economic activities to exploit his/her work. Copyrights, or economic rights, enable the author to exclusively authorize others to use his/her work commercially, usually under particular terms and conditions.  By getting royalties with this authorization (i.e. the exercise of economic rights), the author can earn his/her living and can be rewarded for his/her creation.  In addition, copyrights allow the author to take legal action against unauthorized uses.

Under the Copyright Act of Japan,the author of a work enjoys both "moral rights of an author" and "copyrights (i.e. economic rights)."
And enjoyment of the ”moral rights of an author” and of ”copyright
s” requires no formalities.
The "moral rights of an author" contain the following:
-Right to make the work public;
-Right to determine the indication of the author's name; and
-Right to maintain integrity.
On the other hand, “copyrights” are made up of the following:
-Right of reproduction;
-Right of performance (Stage performance right and musical performance right);
-Right of screen presentation;
-Right of public transmission and public communication;
-Right of recitation;
-Right of exhibition;
-Right of distribution;
-Right of ownership transfer;
-Right of rental;
-Right of translation, adaptation, etc. (i.e. Right to create a derivative work); and
-Right of the original author in the exploitation of a derivative work.

[Q] Can a minor claim copyrights?
[A] Yes.  In principle, copyrights (including moral rights of an author) vest initially in an author of a work, and an “author” means a person who creates a work.  Because a minor can also become an author, he/she may claim his/her own copyrights.

[Q] For copyright protection in Japan, do I have to register my work with official authorities?
[A] No.  Registration (with the Agency for Cultural Affairs) is voluntary.  Copyrights (including moral rights of an author) come into being from the moment a work is created.  That is, copyright protection stems from the act of creation of a work automatically, and consequently does not depend on any formality (i.e. registration).

[Q] So why should I register my work with the Agency for Cultural Affairs in some cases?
[A] Registration is recommended in some cases for some reasons.  Copyright registration is useful especially in a case where an author and/or a copyright owner want(s) to have particular effects on their copyrights by registering some facts in the official record, and identifying the author, the copyright owner and the subject matter of their works.  Entries in the Copyright Registry can give prima facie evidence or a presumption of the existence of vested rights and other facts in a legal dispute relating to copyright infringement, etc.  In addition, the transfer of copyright(s) other than that by inheritance, unless registered, may not be asserted against a third party.  This is of crucial importance when ‘double transfer’ occurs. 
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