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7 Wisconsin International Law Journal 205 (1988)


There is a renewed interest in the United States in Japanese Copyright law. Specifically, new attention has been focused on the protection of computer software under the Japanese Copyright Act, but only a cursory attempt has been given in English language literature to the issue of whether fictional characters can be protected using copyright law in Japan independent of the original work. The objective of this Comment is to fill this void. First the Comment presents the fundamental concepts of American copyright law needed as background knowledge to understand the issue. The Comment then explores the existing satiation in Japan for legal protection of fictional characters - specifically, the pertinent judicial and legislative action. Finally, the Comment delves into the competing policies to be weighted in recognizing copyright protection for fictional characters independent of the original work.