Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Johnny's Jimusho's statement regarding the removal of its ban on photos of its artistes appearing on online news articles

As you would have already read from my posts on Twitter and Facebook, today marks the day when Johnny's Jimusho finally removed the ban on photos of its artistes appearing on online news articles. This has been a huge issue for both fans and the media because fans can never see photos of their idols in the news articles and it's especially annoying and silly when the artiste who is the lead of a drama or movie "disappears" from the group photo of the cast. For the media, it's very troublesome for them to take "web-approved" versions of the group photos without the Johnny's artist. Considering the proliferation of social media and the Internet, Johnny's approach aimed to protect the copyright of its artistes' photos and prevent the misuse has long been criticised for falling behind the times. Although there has been a slight relaxation in recent years where you can see photos of their artistes on official websites of dramas and movies, the ban about online news articles was something which didn't seem to be making any headway. Even the photos of their artistes couldn't be posted on official social media channels of the dramas and movies. Although there are rumours speculating that this move was somewhat in retaliation against the former SMAP members who left the company and managed to make a mark for themselves through online portals and social media, I think it is still well-received by everyone because it means the removal of an archaic rule which is clearly out of tune with the times and less trouble especially for the media outlets.

Below is the statement released by Johnny's Jimusho relating to this move. No doubt it sounds like they are trying to justify that it's a gradual move on their part, I get the feeling that this is more like a reactive move rather than a proactive change:

Johnny's Jimusho has been dealing progressively with the changes in the market with regard to the increasing proliferation of the smartphone in the relaying and processing of information.

For a start, online registration systems for the official fanclubs and electronic tickets were first introduced in the summer of 2016. Johnny's WEST appeared in a Netflix drama which was shown to the entire world from November 2017 and V6's Okada Junichi appeared in a LINE LIVE in December 2017. As such, this signified our artistes expanding their reach in new ways on various platforms.

All along, we have had the understanding of everyone with regard to the ban of using photos and videos of our artistes in the interest of protecting their portrait rights. In line with the progressive moves outlined above, we started to allow some videos on Youtube from April 2016 and allowed the use of promotional materials via SNS from April 2017. From August 2017, the CD and DVD jackets of our artistes' releases have been allowed to appear on electronic commerce websites. In addition, KinKi Kids' 20th anniversary project was held in conjunction with GYAO! and all promotional materials and a part of audio-visual products were streamed on the portal.

As part of this direction, we have removed the ban on photos of our artistes appearing on online news articles which have caused a lot of inconvenience to everyone so far. This applies to photos taken during press conferences, group interviews and events where our artistes appear at. However, there are still some slight restrictions to this rule. This new move takes effect from 31 January 2018 and the first event where this rule applies will be Kanjani 8's Nishikido Ryo's appearance at the press conference with the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan to promote his new movie "Hitsuji no Ki".

We ask for your understanding and cooperation in taking note of the following restrictions:

- Please keep the number of photos to no more than 3 per article.

- The above rule applies to both solo and group photos.

- If a media outlet wishes to let another media company use the photos even though the latter did not attend the event, please check with us for approval first.

Source: Huffington Post Japan

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