(Dead) actors revival
Tue Aug 24 14:06:23 EDT 2004
Thanks for the account of your experiences, Mark. It is true that some
publishers outside Japan are getting very careful about this, but still
many are not.
As I have said on this list many times, however, I am sure that under
the definition of quotation given by Japanese court precedent (the
Sensoron case in particular), frame grabs can be published without
permission. Stills are another matter, because they are a single,
copyrighted entity. The problem that this trend has raised in an issue
apart from copyright, that of the "personal rights" of the performer
(shozoken). While I fear the worst, I do wonder how much we really need
to worry about that for several reasons:
1) Will the performers really ever notice an obscure academic book?
2) Will they care enough to do something about it?
3) Will a challenge really succeed in court?
I have not really heard of many cases involving frame grabs (stills and
portraits are another matter). The only case I really recall is when a
shukanshi was challenged by the producers of Ichigensan for publishing
frame grabs of Suzuki Honami nude. They only really cared because of
the nudity issue and because this was a mass commercial publication. So
unless you do a bad job with the frame grab and really distort or make
the performer's face look horrid, I doubt many would challenge you. And
even if a court case developed involving shozoken, one wonders if it
would win given the established rights over fair use.
I should also note that some Japanese film scholars I know are starting
to get mad about the restrictions being imposed on them by excessive
interpretations of copyright and other property rights. Iwamoto Kenji,
the president of the Japan Society of Image Arts and Sciences, will
have an opinion piece in the next bulletin of the society asserting
scholarly rights, and I hope more pressure can be placed on companies
by scholars, perhaps via institutions like universities or the Agency
for Cultural Affairs.
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
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