Let us not extend the term of copyright protection.
Let us make cultural commons as available as the blue sky,

Petition calling for no extension of the term of copyright protection

In 2007,
Aozora Bunko is going to file a petition by way of collecting signatures calling for no extension of the term of copyright protection.
If you are against the extension of the term, please help us with your signature.
Only signatures in Japanese by a Japanese person and a person living in Japan are effective.

January 1, 2007 Last modified: March 1, 2007
Japanese page

Opening Aozora Bunko, anyone can freely read works of such authors as Souseki Natsume, Ryunosuke Akutagawa and Osamu Dazai. This free access is a grant of the copyright system in which the term of protection is prescribed in 50 years after the death of an author with a view of actively promoting use of copyright-expired works. A freedom to make new works or translation based on existing works, and a freedom of performance and the stage is widely accepted after expiration of the term.

Now an examination to extend the term of protection to 70 years after author's death has started upon the request from some interest groups and the US government. Aozora Bunko objects to the extension of the term which will defer and reduce such freedom available to everyone by another 20 years. In order to clearly express our view, we are going to promote a signature-collection campaign for filing a petition calling for no-extension of the term of copyright protection.

How to promote a signature-collection campaign

The Constitution of Japan, in its Article 16, stipulates; "Every person shall have the right of peaceful petition for the redress of damage, for the removal of public officials, for the enactment, repeal or amendment of laws, ordinances or regulations and for other matters; nor shall any person be in any way discriminated against for sponsoring such a petition."

Based on this provision, Aozora Bunko will promote a signature-collection campaign as "a petition" stipulated in the Article 9 of the Diet Law.

Content of petition and its gist are as following:

Item for petition

Please do not extend the term of copyright protection.

Gist of petition

Aozora Bunko, an internet-based digital library, makes available about 6000 works whose term of copyright protection expired with support of the total number of more than 670 volunteers. In the course of developing and using this scheme, we have had a firm belief that it can provide us new opportunities to use creative works.

Digitization has greatly contributed to lower the cost of archiving and distribution and paved a way for cost-free development and servicing library-type facilities which can be accessed from any place of the world. Also it enabled many ways of reading by different devices. Now people who have difficulties of reading because of visual impairment or other reasons appreciate these works by changing text to voice.

An idea of the copyright system to limit a term of protection and promote active use of works for the development of culture has started to demonstrate its great potentialities over internet.
The level of support for creative activities is to be maintained even though the existing term of protection of 50 years after author's death in addition to his/her life period remains unchanged. On the other hand, if the current term of protection is kept as it is, use of works can be further promoted in the years to come. This holds true not only to Aozora Bunko. In various fields such as music, fine art and films, new mechanisms to share cultural assets will show results.

If the term is extended to 70 years after death as is urged by some interest groups and the US government, availability of works that everyone can freely use is limited to the works 20 years older than the current ones. Opportunities for translation, adaptation, performance and the stage are limited, resulted in more number of works may be kept idle and unappreciated.

As a creative power of an individual is lost after his/her biological death, whether further extension of the term after death can really provide more support to an act of creation is questionable.
Therefore, we are opposed to the extension of the term of copyright protection.

Your signatures will be collected in a petition and submitted to the Diet.


Our request to you

Please introduce our activities in your country.

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