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Anime: New Copyright Law Could End Cosplay As We Know It

3 Minute Read
Jan 26

The Japanese government is considering altering current copyright law to regulate certain aspects of cosplay, but what does that mean for the hobby overall?

Cosplay is a popular hobby in Japan and around the world. Fans from everywhere love to dress up as their favorite characters, sometimes spending hundreds of hours and dollars on their costumes for the perfect pictures or to compete in competitions of technical skill. But a currently ongoing debate within the Japanese government could throw a wrench into the entire hobby as the possibility of more stringent copyright laws are discussed.

Cosplayer Enako as Nezuko from Demon Slayer

These potential laws could most likely affect those who post their photos to social media as well as cosplayers who earn money from their hobby, but that’s a vague policy that covers a lot of ground.

Most affected would be professional cosplayers who can make anywhere from extra spending cash to a significant portion if not all of their total income through cosplay by selling prints or making appearances in costume or in character. But would this include people who take on commissions for skilled crafts such as sewing or foam smithing? What about creating tutorials and patterns for a specific character’s look?

Popular professional Japanese cosplayer and ambassador for Cool Japan, Enako, took to twitter over the weekends with her understanding of the issue.

“I think there are some misunderstandings on the information being spread out there about the changes to cosplay copyright, but this article is easy to understand.

I had a discussion with Minister Inoue, and we’re searching for a way to protect copyright without interfering with current cosplay culture.

Also, I haven’t heard anything about the ban on (cosplay photos being posted to) social media as was written in another article, so I’m anxious to find the truth.

I’m not really in a position to easily give a statement on the issue, but personally, I hope that the changes will not regulate social media posts and fan-made activities if they are not for profit.”

The tweets include a link to the article that she references which specifies a little further of the discussed law,

“Cosplay that is not for profit will not infringe copyright, but submitting photos to membership-based exchange sites (SNS) such as Instagram, or receiving remuneration at events may violate copyright.”


While the specific intentions of the law are still fairly unclear, it does seem that for the most part only those turning a profit on copywritten IPs are at risk of seeing any significant changes at all while amatuer hobbyists and cosplayers will see little to no difference in our every day costuming lives.

At this time it’s unclear what these potential laws will mean for professional cosplayers in Japan or around the world or if there will be a crackdown on cosplay photos to social media websites such as Instagram, but we will be sure to keep an eye out for any major changes.

Cosplayer Enako as Sinon from Sword Art Online

Do you cosplay? Could more stringent copyright laws have any effect on your cosplaying or do your cosplay activity is safe? What’s the biggest build you’ve completed? Let us know in the comments!

Ja Ne, Adventurers!

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