Copyright case (E+J)

David Blair blair at
Sun Jul 16 18:30:08 EDT 2006

Many thanks for taking the time to look that up, Aaron.

Your logic, backed by the translation, seems right...definition of 
author is the key, and since the only exception in Article 15 is when 
the work-for-person has "stipulated in a contract " that they must have 
ownership, article 53's exception should probably only refer to that.

Thinking this over more, I think what particularly confused me and thus 
scared me off was the fact that article 53, covering period of 
protection for corporate works, is right after article 52, which 
describes protection for individual anonymous works, and article 53 
links to article 75, which says the individual author of an anonymous 
work can register their name as author of a work, regardless of whether 
or not they have copyright. Now of course individual anonymous 
authorship and corporate authorship are completely different. But the 
English language translation wording is almost the same in the 
description of the exception to corporate ownership listed in 53.2 
[corporate term ], in the re-registration of --authorship--- described 
in article 75 [registration of authorship by an anonymous individual], 
and in the registration of ownserhip described in article 52.2.ii 
[registration of ownership by an anonymous individual]. Thus making it 
seem possible by association that an anonymous studio magazine staff 
photog could register his authorship and then claim ownership.  Now, of 
course, this is probably completely specious, since there is a obvious 
difference between a corporate work and an anonymous work.... but given 
the similarily of the language, is it? Leading to the question, are 
there real differences in how 53 and 52+75 are written in the original?

refs repeated...
Section 4, period of protection
article 53 [corporate works]

article 52 [anonymous works]

article 75 [registering anonymous work]

> David,
> I'm not a lawyer, but I think these two cases revolve around the 
> definition of author. Especially the Japanese version of Article 53 
> seems to refer only to cases where the legal person owns the name of 
> the author of the work, but where authorship still resides in the 
> individual:
> 法人その他の団体が著作の名義を有する著作物の著作者である個人
> Hôjin sonota no dantai ga chosaku no meigi o yusuru chosakubutsu no 
> chosakusha de aru kojin
> The majority of cases in Article 15 can't apply here because that 
> article is all about attributing authorship only to the legal 
> person--the individual working for the company is never referred to as 
> an author. I think paragraph 2 in Article 53 only refers to those 
> people cited as an exception in Article 15: those who as "stipulated 
> in a contract, work regulation or the like in force at the time of the 
> making of the work" can claim authorship. In those exceptions, the 
> legal body can use its name as the name of the author of the work, but 
> authorship lies elsewhere.
> I unfortunately don't have my copy of the Roppo with me, so I can't 
> check if there have been any precedents concerning these articles. It 
> does look tricky, but I very much doubt the law would let some hack 
> studio photographer just announce that he is the author of some still 
> and gain all the rights--that would go against the principle of 
> Article 15.
> But maybe there are some lawers out there....
> Aaron Gerow
> Assistant Professor
> Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
> Yale University
> 53 Wall Street, Room 316
> PO Box 208363
> New Haven, CT 06520-8363
> Phone: 1-203-432-7082
> Fax: 1-203-432-6764
> e-mail: aaron.gerow at



Waxweb [revised May 2006]:  [see blog on site ]

The Telepathic Motion Picture of THE LOST TRIBES  [in 2007]:  [see blog on site] 


David Blair
blair at

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