We are in trouble geeks and the geek community could suffer greatly in the very near future.
Recently it was brought to my attention TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) that just passed. You are wondering what does this have to do with the Geek community. Basically everything related to the geek, anime/manga, cosplayers, star trek, star wars, and comic con fans. We are being targeted by a new law that will be introduced. This new law states “Any reproduction, remastering, modification, alteration, reselling, and/or manipulation of an original copyrighted item will not be infringed on, or will be punishable by jail time, and/or a fine of up to a $100,000, and/or be sued by the copyright holder”.
I talked to a lawyer to understand all the facts before writing this article. I was enlightened and terrified of what this new law holds for us geeks. The lawyer basically stated if you cosplay, make fan art, fan story’s, doujins, or make props from any show or movie you are infringing on this new copyright law and could be arrested, fined , and sued. He also stated that only a few selected individuals will be allowed to cosplay but will have to be given a license to cosplay only with permission from the copyright holder. Also in a convention setting only licensed people and companies will be allowed to sell merchandise.
What this means for cosplayers is that you will no longer be allowed to cosplay in public settings unless you have a license from the copyright holder. This license would cost anywhere between a hundred to a couple grand, depending on the greediness of the company that is holding the copyright. From what I have gathered anime, star trek, and star wars cosplayers will be hit the hardest because the companies have already started going after people for copyright infringement. Does that mean dressing up in cosplay for Halloween will now be illegal?
Conventions we all love will be hit harder by these new laws. In a convention setting only licensed individuals, licensed companies and the copyright holders will be allowed to sell merchandise. By them doing this the prices of items sold at conventions will be doubled or tripled because they are the sole copyright holder. But companies with back stock of merchandise that the new law will affect will be allowed to sell the product until they are out of stock and will not be allowed to reorder, they can only reorder if they become licensed to carry the copyrighted items. So if you were to go to your local comic shop and buy a light saber its ok; but after the shop is sold out the shop will be unable to buy more. This also will stop reselling items on ebay and other sites because you are reselling a copyrighted item and are infringing on the new copyright laws.
This new law will also impact web sites that review product. With this new law, it will also make it impossible to review an item without the written consent of the copyright holder. The lawyer stated even with the consent of the copyright holder if the review is in a negative light of the product being reviewed, the copyright holder can remove the story from your site without warning and sue you for bad publicity. If you were to review a product without the written consent; the copyright holder could seize your website and url without warning until an arrangement could be made to remove the reviewed item from your blog/page. If this was to happen reviews would be forced to be positive and will be full of lies about a product that might be complete garbage.
What will this new law do to Twitch and YouTube? If this law passes Twitch and YouTube users will no longer be allowed to stream or post videos of them playing a game. The lawyer stated broadcasting a game through a streaming site or posted on a video site like YouTube falls into the copyright infringement law. How is this possible you may be wondering; because all games you buy do not belong to you. In the fine print of all games the underlying code is protected as a literary work, and the artwork and sound are protected as an audiovisual work so the new copyright laws will altogether kill YouTube and Twitch.
Right now our copyright laws state a “fair use act” which does not criminalize us from making fan art, cosplay, fan story’s, and props from some of our favorite shows, movies and animes. But the new TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) copyright laws will remove the “fair use act” and criminalize it. In Japan the authors and companies that produce the anime and manga’s understand that fan art, doujins and cosplay is free advertising/publicity for their products. Here in America they do not see it that way; they see it as you’re stealing money from the license copyright holders and go after you for it. Brunei, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam are apart of the TPP.
How do all you geeks feel about this new law that may become reality? Let me hear it in the comments.