FAQ about Copyright System of Japan

What is a right of adaptation?

A right of adaptation is one of the copyrights granyed to an author of a work under the Copyright Act of Japan. When you say a "right of adaptation" in Japan, the right usually means the one provided for in the provision of Art. 27 of the Copyright Act of Japan. Under the provision, an author of a work has the exclusive right to translate, arrange musically or transform a pre-existing work,, or dramatize, cinematize or otherwise adapt a pre-existing work, which means that the author of a pre-existing work (an original work) has the right of creating a “derivative work.” The term “derivative work” under the Copyright Act of Japan means a work created by translating, arranging musically or transforming a pre-existing work (an original work), or dramatizing, cinematizing or otherwise adapting a pre-existing work (an original work). And in connection with the exploitation of a derivative work, the author of its original work has exclusive rights of the same types as those owned by the author of the derivative work.  Consequently, if you want to use a derivative work from an original work, you must obtain permission from both the copyright owner of the original work and of the derivative work.

The term "copyrights” ususally means economic rights which enable the author to exclusively authorize others to use his/her work commercially, usually under particular terms and conditions.

Adapting something from an original work (e.g. adapting a novel to make a motion picture, rewriting for children a book intended for adults) is usually understood to create another work (original work) independently of creating its original work. However, if you adapt something from an original work without permission from the author (copyright owner) of the original work, that constitutes an act of infringement of the copyright to the original author.

It is accepted globally that translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other alterations of a literary or an artistic work should be protected without prejudice to the copyright in the original work, and the author of the original work should enjoy the exclusive right of making derivative works from his/her original.

     Kaneda Copyright Agency
     For proper copyright management in Japan

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