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Unauthorized Komukai striptease photos highlight copyright dilemma in Japan

30 Comments

Many stood in the long queue and paid 8,000 yen to see the nude performance by Minako Komukai in Asakusa. Those who couldn’t go to the striptease were in glee to see the spy photo published in the June 26 edition of the weekly Friday, of Komukai exposing her breasts to the audience.

But the question is, what happens when someone takes a photo of such performances without permission? A sign at the entrance of Asakusa Rock-za clearly states that the theater will impose a penalty of 3 million yen for unauthorized taking of photos, and the same announcement is made in the theater prior to performances.

Obviously, taking such photos are a problem if the theater explicitly prohibits it, which, legally speaking, is about the theater’s right to maintain and manage the facility. Attorney Kensaku Fukui, who specializes in copyright laws, explains, “The theater has the right to prohibit activities it deems to be an obstruction of the performance.”

So what happens when someone in the audience secretly films or photographs the performance?

“There are several possibilities," Fukui says. "If the theater staff witness someone taking photos, they have the right to stop the act or tell the particular individual to leave the theater.”

The penalty of 3 million yen may not have legal effect, since the prerequisite is the existence of an agreement between the party notifying the penalty and the party being notified. On the other hand, if the theater does incur damages due to such actions, it is entitled to make claims for the damage, even though the amount may be limited.

However, the case of Friday, which profited by publishing an image owned by one audience member, is a different matter altogether. From the perspective of Rock-za, the publication would be considered an obstruction of business. Indeed, it appears that the theater is considering the option of filing a lawsuit against the weekly magazine, which in turn may develop into further complications involving the violation of Komukai’s privacy and portrait rights.

Other businesses face the problem of similar infringement of copyrights, an example being pirated DVDs. In 2007, a special law went into effect to protect movies -- with a penalty of 10 million yen or up to 10 years’ imprisonment for any violation. However, the law only applies to movies.

Theaters that offer a range of performances such as dramas, musicals and kabuki have no choice but to devise their own methods of "self-defense." Kabuki-za, Shiki Theatre and Honda Theatre in Shimokitazawa say that if they catch someone in the act of taking photos or filming a performance, they confiscate the camera, delete the data and then hand it back to the individual. But they say they do not consider lawsuits as an option.

One organization known for its aggressive protection of copyrights is Tokyo Disneyland, which regards everything from taking photos with Mickey Mouse to the facility and attractions as copyrighted. Whether posting on one’s personal blog, the uploading of films and images is defined as “an unpermitted news-gathering act” and they request the individual to delete such data. In fact, a group in Chiba was arrested two years ago for selling DVDs showing parades at Disneyland.

In other words, unauthorized shooting applies to motion pictures only, and from this perspective, theaters do not have the legal means to protect their business from damages resulting from pirated copies. In effect, the publication of Komukai’s nude photo in Friday has unexpectedly called into question this copyright dilemma.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


30 Comments
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Editor: it seems there's been a mistake - an irrelevant, fully-clothed photo of Komukai has been posted with this article.

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Altria thanks for pointing that out. I hope the editor gets that handled asap!

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and these photo`s are where exactly.

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So will we see Minny Mouse nude, too, in Rock-za?

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I can understand dirty folks going to see a good-looking girl doing a striptease. But she doesn't look that good. Or does she need more make-up? Either way, she's just laughing all the way to the bank. It's easy snatching money from gullible and desperate people who have nothing better to do.

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picture please

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I agree with pukey2. I can fully understand dirty folks going to see a pretty gal doing a strip tease. I also fully understand the dirty people attracted to the skillfully written banner which led dirty minded people to comment here.

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Dirt is in the mind of the beholder.

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Where's the link?

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Who is Minako Komukai? And why would anyone be interested in seeing her strip?

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Bwaaah - just look at her - who in their right mind would want to see more? :)

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Altria I must agree with you as well.

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Not too smart this woman. If she were worried about copyright, she would have sold bits of her cleavage to advertisers. Just user some body paint to keep the punters happy and at the same time ward off any unlicensed reproduction of images.

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I can understand dirty folks going to see a good-looking girl doing a striptease.

Really!? How old are you? On her behalf, she used to be fit as hell. But goes it for the lot, we get older. ;)

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Hmmm, not even interested to see the pics. Sounds like good advertising to me.

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I think she looks very attractive in the picture above and the pics on her website are even better.

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Even if you delete the pics, the data remains in the card. Data Recovery 101.

So many gizmos in Japan, its impossible to stop anyone from taking pictures or even video.

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for example http://www.nativecelebrities.com/1314/Minako-Komukai.html

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Nice pneumatic ex-tarento. I would certainly like to be her man.

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youd have to be pretty damned hard up to take a photo of her.

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A friend told me that sometimes in these places you can take a polaroid for JPY 500. I wonder it Komukai opted for that.

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How about doing something about music and movie piracy rather than a trivial photo?

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Guys, if you google search her, you have to admit she has quite an impressive figure!

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She is only 24 and looks like she is pushing 40...

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she has very large breasts

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Fatfrench... It's called Photoshop

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no, It's called takasu clinic

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she needs to loose some weight. awfull heavy for a japanese young lady.

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mr.hog, no, many japanese young ladies and men alike need to put on some weight

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In other words, unauthorized shooting applies to motion pictures only

This came out of the blue, what? Please research your articles more carefully.

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