Battles on Copyrights Part 1 - Leiji Matsumoto Talks about Creators' Thoughts

topSankei Web recently published a multi-part article on the famous anime and manga creator Leiji Matsumoto, who talks about the importance of copyrights. In Part 1, Leiji Matsumoto discusses the pains and burdens a manga creator and his or her family faces, and the importance of copyright protection.

Battles on Copyright - Leiji Matsumoto Talks about Creators' Thoughts

"Creators fall dead in front of the wall of creativity." Veteran manga creator Leiji Matsumoto expresses the "labor pains" of creators in these words.

Creators are outraged and horrified of the numerous copies and illegal distributions of writings, manga, videos, music and other copyrighted works over the Internet and other media. The users who think "everything should be free on the net" are claiming more and more that "copyright holders are being overprotected" and "rights should be ceased." How do the creators think of this harsh criticism, or copyright "bashing"?

"Manga artists are eternally "ronin" (freelance samurai), holding only pens instead of swords. It is extremely hard, almost impossible to become independent as a creator. There are no pension schemes or retirement lump-sums. Nobody knows when you would lose everything and fall into the abyss."

Matsumoto explained the creators' circumstances very seriously.

"Creators can sustain their passion to create, and be emotionally relieved that they can leave something for their families and descendants by being protected by copyright. I met the family of a famous deceased artist, and they told me that 'the copyright is about to expire' in tears. Sadly I realized that some day my family would be in the same situation. I just hope that that moment would be at least 20 years later. Even Osamu Tezuka's copyright will expire in about 30 years. More industrial countries are stating 70 years as the copyright limit, and it's being extended. Ultimately it might become 120 years. The trend is to make it longer, not shorter."

Matsumoto says, on the copyright issue that is otherwise discussed from economical or user-friendly points, that "creators give birth to these works with all the pride we have. That is why we need to be protected with a stable income. The emotional quality that is poured into these works has to be accounted in some ways."

Matsumoto went through a fierce legal battle regarding the copyright of "Space Battleship Yamato" with the movie's producer. He also accused a pop singer for using his "original lyrics" without permission, which garnered a lot of attention last year.

He goes through all of these painstaking acts because as a veteran in the field, he thinks he has to bring justice to fellow manga artists. To protect the rights of his colleagues, he publicly pleads everybody "to keep in mind the heart of the creator and the feelings of the families left behind, instead of discussing it as a stereotypical legal issue."

Original Article
Translate by Masako

Battles on Copyrights Part 2 - Mimicry is not Creativity
Battles on Copyrights Part 3 - The Fear of Falling into the Abyss

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Has Miyazawa Kenji any

Has Miyazawa Kenji any family remaining ? If Leiji Matsumoto is so much obsessed about copyrights, he should pay them royalties for having used the idea of the Galaxy Express...

New ideas are built upon previous ideas, and are mankind's heritage. Money Matsumoto has gained during his life and left to his family is another matter entirely, of course.

Copyright duration

Unless Japan has a VERY different law than the rest of the world, copyright duration for creator-owned works (and if they aren't creator-owned the original creator family won't much care) is counted from the guy's DEATH! Wich means that, say, Osamu Tezuka's family will still have another half-century worth of time to profit from his talented ancestor's creations.

Gee, I wish MY parents would leave me such a long-lasting heritage...

Hunter (Pedro Bou??a)

Another Perspective on Copyright

While I have sympathy for the situation of manga artists trying to make a living, I wanted to point out that the modern conception of copyright is largely based on incorrect views that copyrights were designed to protect artists. In fact, copyrights grew out of a monopoly granted to PUBLISHERS, designed by the British government as a form of CENSORSHIP. Copyright has always been meant to subsidize distribution, not creation.

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