Here’s a roundup of legal stories in the news that might be of interest to fans:
- On October 1 penalties will go into effect in Japan regarding illegal downloads. “In an interview with ITmedia, Japanese attorney Toshimitsu Dan noted that the revisions now forbid ripping and copying of copy-protected and encoded materials, selling software and hardware that circumvents copyright protection laws, and intentionally downloading illegally uploaded materials.” Those successfully prosecuted would receive two years in prison or a maximum fine of ¥2,000,000 ($25,106 U.S.).
- A panel at the Phoenix ComicCon by copyright attorney Ruth Carter focused on how copyright law applies to fan art, fan fiction, and slash fiction in response to fan questions about what they can and can’t do with their fanworks. Teleread poster Chris Meadows cited the TWC review of Fan Fiction and Copyright: Outsider Works and Intellectual Property Protection by Aaron Schwabach which itself concluded that there were no easy answers to many questions that arise around fannish works.
- In the meantime, artist Sherry Bourlon found herself at the end of a cease and desist from Hasbro in regards to her plushie toys. “Bourlon’s customers aren’t just ordinary bronies. Even the show’s creator, Lauren Faust, bought a custom pony for herself.” Fans complained that Hasbro does not manufacture plush pony toys and has no competing products whose sales can be affected. While some fans said “they realize the company has a duty to protect its intellectual property,” they “thought Hasbro would be better off hiring Bourlon to help it start a line of official plush toys.”
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