chapter  6
17 Pages

Copyright law as a new industrial policy? Japan’s attempts to promote its content industry

The worldwide popularity of Japanese pop culture, symbolized by the success of anime and manga, has convinced the Japanese government that cultural products can be yet another profitable export item. The aspiration to become a “content superpower” was explicitly listed as one of the policy targets in the “Intellectual Property Strategic Program 2008,” published by the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters of the Cabinet. To achieve this goal, the Strategic Program of 2008 identified the need to reform the intellectual property law:

The digitization and networking of information have enabled us to enjoy content at any time and in any place, without using such conventional devices as television sets and radios . . . In order to take advantage of this business opportunity, the Japanese content industry should tackle the challenge of creating new business models. In order to support this, the Government of Japan (GOJ) will create a new intellectual property system – the most advanced in the world – which is suitable for the distribution of digital content, and also develop appropriate contract rules. While taking into consideration the expected rapid progress in technology, the GOJ will also aim to establish a system that can quickly and flexibly cope with any legal issues that may hinder the development of new business models.