Copyright law says no sharing of images without permission, Ghibli gives us all permission to use 400 of theirs!
What You Need to Know:
- Since September 18th, Studio Ghibli began offering free screen captures from their own works on its official website, saying "Please feel free to use it within the bounds of common sense" (producer Toshio Suzuki). This is especially notorious because, just recently, there has been a tightening of copyright laws in Japan and an impending feeling of fear around copyright and fair use in the digital world. This feels almost as if Ghibli is trying to prove a point.
- Currently, there are scene captures from "Spirited Away", "Tales from Earthsea", "Ponyo", "The Secret World of Arrietty", "From Up on Poppy Hill", "The Wind Rises", "The Tale of Princess Kaguya", and "When Marnie Was There", totaling 400 free-to-use images with more said to be added.
- Japanese copyright law prohibits the posting of other people's copyrighted works on personal homepages, blogs, and SNS without permission, but this time, the images provided by Ghibli can be used freely as it has been stated publicly on the site by producer Suzuki.
- In fact, in his weekly podcast, Suzuki mentioned that "copyrights should be in an environment that is easy for various people to use." And we couldn't agree more.
- Suzuki has gone on to share the story of "Grave of the Fireflies" which Ghibli animated in 1988. The novel, which had come out in 1967, was about to go out of print and in just a few years, without being able to reprint it or distribute it, the story would have been gone forever. But thanks to Ghibli being able to make a movie of it, the author, his work, and the movie itself have gone on to live for a long time. Suzuki finds the thought of art disappearing scary and so, he wants to put out as much Ghibli material out there so the stories and images can live on for decades to come! Suzkui and Studio Ghibli want to give back not only to those who have supported the films, but to everyone.
- "Freedom within the bounds of common sense" does not mean that you can ignore the current law and do whatever you want, however. Producer Suzuki thinks there should be a middle ground while complying with the law without having to be afraid or discouraged from sharing images, simply saying "Just don't slander, since it would detract from the work."
- This is a bold but inspiring move from the most iconic animation studio in Japan. Copyright laws have gotten incredibly strict to the point that it is actually hindering even the sharing of anime-related information. Even here on Honey's Anime we abide by Japanese law so we are happy to see some pushback from the studios themselves realizing that most of us just want to promote their work, not steal it or slander it. We love anime! We will respect it and its creators.
"It is important to protect the author by law, but from a different point of view from the licensing business. A work is meaningless unless someone reads it, sees it, and listens to it. Always have people in the world enjoy it. It's the most important thing to talk about. It belongs to the person who made it, but it's not just for the person who made it."
Truer words have never been spoken, Suzuki-san!
Thank you Studio Ghibli!