Problems with DVD

Eija Margit Niskanen emniskanen
Wed Apr 17 08:44:40 EDT 2002

One thing, for some weird reason this restriction is not placed on laser
disc movies, since at least at Nichidai they use laserdisc movies in
classrooms. Go figure...

At 03:19 PM 3/29/02 +0900, you wrote:
>Thanks to Michiko and others for tales of their own problems purchasing 
>Japanese visual culture items. I'd still like to hear about any problems 
>with DVD, but it's important to know these corporate restraints on our 
>Michael Kerpan wrote:
>>This attempt to restrict re-sellers from selling to others is possibly 
>>illegal in its own right.  The "first sale doctrine" which exists in the 
>>US and in most other countries provides that once the an authorized copy 
>>of a  copyrighted has been legally sold, attempts to restrict re-sale by 
>>the buyer are not permissible.  If a company is a wholesale distributor 
>>(in essence an agent of the initial seller), it's freedom of action can 
>>probably be curtailed legitimately, but once an item makes it into the 
>>retail market, restraints are unenforceable. Unless Japan has never 
>>recognized the "first sale doctrine", the described behavior is very 
>>likely illegitimate.  Whether it is worth initiating  (or threatening) 
>>legal proceedings is, perhaps, another question.
>As I have mentioned several times before on this list with regard to a 
>court case brought by Enix over the resale of video games, is that 
>Japanese Copyright Law gives the copyright owner of a film the right of 
>distribution (hanpuken), and thus control over how it is distributed.  
>Copyright owners of records and books do not have this right (and thus 
>used book and record stores are legally no problem). If one were to take 
>this literally, it means that such practices as the sale of used videos 
>(which one sees all the time), or possibly even the importation into 
>Japan (parallel importing) of videos sold abroad is illegal without the 
>consent of the copyright owner in Japan.
>To get back to the DVD issue, it seems possible that some DVD 
>manufacturers are using their right of distribution to determine who can 
>and cannot buy their DVDs. They thus might have the legal right to do it, 
>but again that doesn't make it morally right.
>Aaron Gerow
>Associate Professor
>International Student Center
>Yokohama National University
>79-1 Tokiwadai
>Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama 240-8501
>E-mail: gerow at
>Phone: 81-45-339-3170
>Fax: 81-45-339-3171

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