Copyright of cartoon characters (Popeye 4th case)

Is the character a copyrighted work?


Conclusion: The characters of the characters in the cartoon are not copyrighted works.



Popeye 4th Case (Supreme Court Decision July 17, 1997)

A copyrighted work is said to be "a creative expression of thought or emotion" (Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 1 of the same law), and characters with certain names, appearances, roles, etc. In a one-story complete serialized manga that is drawn repeatedly, each manga in which the character is drawn corresponds to a copyrighted work, leaving the specific manga, and the so-called character of the character on the right is called a literary work. It is not possible.

A character is an abstract concept that can be called the personality of a character sublimated from a concrete expression of a manga, and is not a concrete expression itself, but a creative expression of thought or emotion in itself. Because it cannot be said.



As judged in the above case, "the manga each time the characters are drawn" is a copyrighted work, and the character is an abstract concept that can be said to be the personality of the characters sublimated from the concrete expression of the manga. It is said that it is not a copyrighted work in itself.

Of course, copying a manga is an infringement of the reproduction right, and uploading a manga to the Internet is an infringement of the public transmission right and a copyright infringement.

To protect your character, it is best to acquire a design right or trademark right.

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