Now in Japan the country originated Youtube like website Niconico Douga is on booming. Its managing company Dwango, which had Enlisted in the Tokyo Stock Market in 2003, announced to be a business joint with KADOKAWA, a media giant in Japan this May. Originally NicoNico started December 2006, as a completely pirate website exploiting almost all its movies from youtube.
However, one puzzling thing haunts people’s mind. There shall be a huge legal risks from investigation by law enforcement authorities and rush of civil sue cases. But no claims of copy right violation has been done in the court by the JASRAC, which notoriously collect fees from even a few quote by amateur artists. And no other entities had legal action. Even the Stock Market did not demand stop such an obvious invasion of law ( which is usually the case ) and no suction had never been done. Given that NicoNico seemed to never take care of legal risks and in reality immune to law, why?
Well, one may imagine that NicoNico has been avoiding such a law risk in the very same way too. But one thing makes a big difference; jurisdiction. In the case of youtube, its server is located in U.S. So it can insist that U.S. law is adopted and under the national DMCA law by ‘’ notice and take down’’, its service is permitted.( though it is still a controversial argument.) NicoNico’s server, on the other hands, exist in Japan. And under its copy right law, the room for such an cop out does not exist. Therefore, the same legal scheme the Youtube stated can not be adopted.
The answer of this big question is, quite simple. In spite of trying managing with the obstacles under the rule of law, it choose to manage its business more classic condition; that is, the rule by human. It had been eagerly recruiting board member of its company fro ex-Prime Minister Taro Aso( now again vice prime minister, and Minister of Finance, Minister of State for Financial Services) family. ( His son Mr. Masahiro Aso is joining on its goods seller division company extone, and Aso’s nephew, Mr. Iwao Aso is a board member of its business contract division, Niwango. )
（Iwao Aso, Photograph from 4 gamers）
And what makes its business more intolerable to citizens with consciousness is ( only if they were conscious about it) its attribution of revenues. In contrast to its mother, Youtube, NicoNico does not pay any pence to users who posted the movies. Instead, it offers ‘’ Rights Control Program ‘’ exclusively to businesses. ( All the individual artist or foreign copy right owner who does not have delegation or branch in Japan is, out of this right ‘’protection’’ .)
(From NicoNico’s website. Big businesses are given privileged access to this program.)
It shall sound quiet new, but it is obscenely announced in NicoNico Website. However, as in the usual case in mainstream medias in Japan this is not mentioned.
Under its special offer, the business partner of Niconico are given special offer. If the movies its business partners copyright has concerns, (i.e. plyaing the Nintendo’s video game Super Mario ) NicoNico tells the posting is done. Then the partners of this program ( in this case Nintendo ) have 2 options; (1) it can leave the posting on the condition that NicoNico and Nintendo can share the incomes from affiliate advertisement fee, if Nintendo like the movie. (2) If the content of posting is not welcomed by Nintendo for somewhat reasons like it blames the quality of the game, it can delete the posting, on the ground that it is a copy right violation.
Those options for business partners have, legally no problems. But its effect to the discourse in the internet is quiet grotesque. Only the movie in NicoNcio which shows the opinion media industries favor can survive, others being erased. Officially, NicoNico says it has 39 million customers (mostly from Japan and it is equivalent to around one third of the population).
It shall hamper the sound criticism to cultural scenes of the users, huge part of them are teenagers and consequently lose their creativity in the future.
According to Mr. Edward Snowden’s letter to EU parliament, he stressed how the creativity is grown under the free thinking, free speech society. He is reportedly one of the biggest fun of games and other subculture in Japan. If he has a chance to know the current internet community in Japan on the subculture where censorship by NicoNico prevails and supported by nepotism, how will he feel?
(Photograph from AP)
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