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Media & Entertainment

Japan to allow freer sharing of content with obscure copyrights

Current strict rules hamper posting of old movies and music online

Unlike the U.S., which follows the doctrine of fair use, Japan requires the permission of copyright holders before anyone can share content online.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Japanese government on Friday is expected to roll out reforms that will make it easier for people to share content such as old films and music with no clear copyright owner, Nikkei has learned.

In Japan, copyrights are automatically granted when content is created. Unlike the U.S. and other countries that allow fair use without permission under certain circumstances, secondary sharing of copyrighted material is prohibited without the rights holder's consent. But this presents problems since movies often have multiple rights holders, and it is often difficult to track down authors of older works.

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