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“Fast Movie” Copyright Infringement Case Decided with High Cost for Makers

posted 1 year ago

Last year, we noted that the “fast movie” (ファスト映画, fast-eiga), edited abbreviations with story spoilers of full-length movies, had caused huge damage to movie companies in Japan recently. And we reported that some people had been arrested on charges of this practice.

This time, two defendants (kept anonymous in the decision) were found guilty of making fast movies of 54 films and told to pay thirteen movie producers a total of 500 million yen (about US$ 3.76 million at current exchange rate) plus 3% interest per annum, before the Tokyo District Court.[1] The defendants are understood to have gained at least 7 million yen in YouTube advertisement revenue from 10 million-plus views.[2]

The theory of basis for calculating damages was based on the theory that payment is due per use (Japan Copyright Act Article 114{3}, “equivalent to the amount of money that the owner should have received in connection with the exercise of the copyright”).[3] Starting with at least 400 yen per paid viewing of a legitimate movie, deducting 30% for platforming costs and more due to the abbreviated nature of the posted films, the court still estimated 200 yen per view was due for what the original movies’ producers would have gained from playing of their full-length films.[1]

Of course, the producers were met with hungry demand for their problematic products. This court decision is a warning to users (abroad and in Japan) that “fast movies” clearly infringe upon copyright in Japan. Also, makers of films who want to make use of material from Japanese films will need to be quite careful not to infringe upon copyright.

* The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

** For questions or consultation, please contact us for more information.

Contact: Taro Yaguchi

Sources

[1] Courts in Japan. “Decision Reiwa [year] 4 ‘wa’ 12062.” https://www.courts.go.jp/app/files/hanrei_jp/545/091545_hanrei.pdf (PDF) Issued November 17, 2022. Accessed December 3, 2022.

[2] Daily Yomiuri. “ファスト映画の損害額「1回再生で200円」、無断投稿の2人に5億円賠償命令東京地裁 [Fast movie damages ‘200 yen per play,’ two unauthorized posters ordered to pay 500 million yen in damages by Tokyo District Court].” https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/20221118-OYT1T50036/ November 18, 2022. Accessed December 3, 2022.

[3] Kurihara, Kiyoshi. “ファスト映画5億円損害賠償裁判の判決文が公開されました [Court decision on ‘fast movie’ 500 million yen damages published].” https://news.yahoo.co.jp/byline/kuriharakiyoshi/20221130-00326239 November 30, 2022. Accessed December 3, 2022.
Translation of Copyright Act from: Copyright Act on Japanese Law Translation, https://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/en/laws/view/4001#je_ch7at6, accessed December 3, 2022.

Header image by Recklessstudios from Pixabay

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