Every month in OTW Signal we’ll take a look at stories that connect to the OTW’s mission and projects, including legal, technology, academic, fannish history, and preservation issues that are important for fandom, fan culture or transformative works.
In the News
Fans of animanga works, especially those producing doujinshi, have reason to cheer the outcome of a Japanese court case in October. The case turned on whether a derivative creation, in this case a doujin magazine, would be protected by copyright. The plaintiff had produced some Yuri!!! On Ice, Tiger & Bunny, and Mr. Osomatsu fanart. Someone else then reproduced that fanart for profit. The fan creator then sued claiming copyright infringement and demanded compensation. In the first trial, the court ruled that “there is not enough evidence to recognize that it is an illegal secondary work” and ruled in favor of the fan creator.
The case was then appealed to Japan’s Intellectual Property High Court. They upheld the lower court ruling. In short, the decision was that “since the cartoon character itself is ‘not a work’, even if the original character is made to appear in the doujin magazine, it does not constitute copyright infringement by itself.”