Mar 19, 2018

Anime showings risk international copyright incident

Dragon Ball Super, for the uninitiated, is a hugely popular Japanese anime series written largely by Dragon Ball franchise creator Akira Toriyama.

Its broadcast rights are owned by Toie Animation, which asserts that no entity owns the rights to display the series in public. Despite that, public screenings organised by local governments went ahead in Mexico, Chile, Peru, El Salvador and Ecuador on Saturday 17 March 2018.

The public screening movement seems to have begun in Mexico, where enthusiastic fans tried to organise an event to coincide with the release of episode 130 of the show. That movement was picked up by local authorities that agreed to arrange safety barriers and large screens for the event. The movement spread to other South American countries, and before long there was formulated a long list of Dragon Ball Super events.

Toie Animation sent out notices in advance of the episode's release to make sure that the authorities organising each event were aware that they needed and did not have permission to display the episode.

Those notices were largely ignored, and hordes of fans watched the show together at events across South America. At one showing in Ecuador alone over 10,000 fans gathered in one location.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any diplomatic or legal repercussions from the events over the weekend, especially as state agencies have endorsed the piracy of one of Japan's most famous exports: anime.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

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