In what situations is a copyright unenforceable in Japan?

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Not all unauthorized uses of copyrighted material can be the basis for a infringement litigation.  Some types of behavior that would otherwise be infringing are allowed under the Copyright Act.  For example, use of copyrighted material in schools for educational purposes is generally allowed under the Copyright Act.  Therefore, if a teacher copies passages out of a novel to create homework for his or her students, the copyright owner cannot sue the teacher for infringement.

Other examples include performing additional work on a building, such as remodeling, repairing or extending, as this does not violate the copyright of the original architect.  Debugging code or updating a software program also does not generally violate the copyright of the original programmer.

Copyright holders should also be aware that their copyrights may not be enforceable in other situations beyond those mentioned here and should discuss with legal counsel before contemplating any enforcement action.

If you have questions about infringement of your copyrights please contact our office for a legal consultation.