Battles on Copyrights Part 3 - The Fear of Falling into the Abyss

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 3, the article sums up its points and discuss what the future holds for both the industry and the consumers.

The Fear of Falling into the Abyss

"Big brother is similar to dad and both are silent /
Wonder if they sometimes drink together"

A line from a classic enka (Japanese ballard) song, "Kitaguni no haru."

Ide Haku, who wrote the lyrics, lost his father when he was in first grade at elemantary school. His mother and his brother, who was 10 years older than him, brought him up. The scene in the song where a man is thinking of his father in his hometown reflects Ide's longings. "If he weren't dead, dad and brother must have drunk together at the fireside," he thought.

If Ide's copyright expires, his lyrics can be altered or used in purposes that were not originally intended. Ide insists that "copyright should be protected forever" because his work reflects his life.

Of course, Ide supports the idea of extending copyright limits from 50 to 70 years.

"If the holder of the right says '50 years is enough,' then I understand, but such ideas (of shortening the limit) comes from the consumers. I do not want these rights to become convenient for the users. The point of the discussion should be about how we can appreciate the value of a creative work, and not abusing its value."

The terror Matsumoto feels about falling into the abyss reflects the "structure of wealth" in the world of creators. Shiina Kazuo, board member of the Council of Japanese Performing Artists Associations, which consists of actors and stage musicians (performing musicians), says that "high fees motivate new artists to be more creative," but on the other hand explains that "the social security aspect of say, equality of wealth or wealth redistribution, is a different story from the mechanism of show business or copyright protection."

Going over the hardship from the bottom of the heap is inevitable for a good creator ... The creators' world is one of severe competition, and copyright fees are the only wages they can get. But people just pick up the amount or criticize the system as if it's enlarging the wealth divide, and Shiina is bewildered by how "people talk about it sensationally, which is not what we intend."

Reconciliation of interest on both sides of the copyrighted work has been long on the table of discussion. Creators (copyright holders and performing artists) and the "makers" (movie distributors, record companies, broadcasters) who commercialize the products always confront about the distribution of royalities. And then, the "makers" and consumers are always in tension regarding the retail prices.

Shiina says, however, that "the copyright holders and consumers do not confront each other. Creators must grow into people whom the consumers love and expect more good work from." Shiina thinks positively that "if consumers think that the creators are the bad guys, that is a misunderstanding that we must clear up."

Original Article
Translate by Masako

Battles on Copyrights Part 1 - Leiji Matsumoto Talks about Creators' Thoughts
Battles on Copyrights Part 2 - Mimicry is not Creativity