The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam has been very controversial, and it is even affecting Japan’s doujinshi industry which deals with fan-made works.
The TPP has provisions regarding intellectual property rights, and it has made many anime fans very uncomfortable. Doujinshi are fan-made works, and often use existing series rather than original works. In the provision, Doujinshi creators may be prosecuted without the consent of thecopyright holders they have violated, however, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, made some clarifications.
According to Abe, Doujinshi do not compete in the same market as the original works they are based on, and therefore, do not damage or affect the profits of the original works directly, so they will be safe from the TPP regulations. He said that Doujins must be treated more like parodies (in a legal sense) and not as pirated works like illegally streaming anime or uploading manga. He argued that Doujinshi don’t make much of a profit, much like most pirated works, and don’t really damage intellectual property rights.
Opponents of the TPP in the anime and manga industry have loudly voiced their opinions against it, stating their fears that events like the bi-annual Comiket will be cancelled, and new artists might be turned off from pursuing their dream. For a long time, Doujins have been regarded as the “grey area” of intellectual property, however, rights holders often ignore them as some of the creators often start out their career as doujinshi artists.
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