Multiple sources including Slashdot.jp reports that Crypton Future Media, the company who has produced voice synthesizing software, Hatsune Miku (初音ミク) and others requested Niko Niko Douga (ニコニコ動画) to take down parody song with satire, coinciding with arrest of Japanese actress Noriko Sakai (酒井法子). The song, in question is a parody of Noriko Sakai’s famous song Aoi Usagi (碧いうさぎ, Blue Rabbit), was named Shiroi Kusuri (白いクスリ, White Drug) with lyric replaced with satire about her arrest from use of illegal drugs.
According to Crypton Future Media, on their official blog, the reason they have requested this taken down is:
- Product created by (Crypton Future Media) is being used to create the work that is potentially illegal activity civil and criminal, that constitutes to be defamation, and the work is being distributed over the internet.
- The fact above is being publicized over major internet news websites, and is being known to people who do not know the products created by (Crypton Future Media).
- The above may result in negative and inaccurate image about creative work using the voice generation technology including products created by (Crypton Future Media) to general public.
Thus (Crypton Future Media) requested Niwango on August 11th to remove video in question due to potential loss of sales and reputation.
In most of these taken down notice, story ends here.
However, as J-cast reports, Niko Niko Douga’s operator, Niwango overturned its early decision of complying take down, citing that request by Crypton Future Media does not have legal standing, thus putting back the video taken down earlier, however with the message to poster that the license holder of the software used to produce the work is requesting taken down.
Now, there are interesting questions come up.
First, does Crypton Future Media has legal standing to request for the work to be taken down? What if you used Les Paul to play satire song, can Gibson ask you to stop it?
Second, only binding contract between established regarding use of Vocaloid software is between Crypton Future Media and user, in the form of EULA. I think Niwango’s decision is heavily based on this fact. By people putting up their work on Niko Niko Douga, it is users who are violating EULA, and they are merely requesting to solve the problem between parties in contract. While the work may be violating copyright law, Crypton Future Media is not a copyright holder, thus is not authorized to issue take down notice from this reason.
Third, if Crypton Future Media claims rights to have “inappropriate work” removed, then potentially, Crypton Future Media itself may be liable in future arising from damages created by users of their product. Is Crypton Future Media ready to respond to such claim?
I don’t know if the particular work will be ultimately taken down or not, but it may be that both Niko Niko Douga and Crypton Future Media may have opened up a can of worms.