Center for Higher Education StudiesWaseda University

Guidelines & Publications


Educational Copyright

Japanese Government is reviewing the regulation on fair use of copy right. We are watching the latest information and will update them via TeachAnywhere.

When using the Internet for study at university, it is necessary to have the correct knowledge about educational copyright.
Please view the video for an introduction to the basics of educational copyright. The video shows what you must never do when handling copyrighted content on the Internet, including during Waseda Moodle activities, and explains the rules on using other parties’ copyrighted materials when doing coursework, such as reports. Violating these rules can lead to tough penalties, such as expulsion or suspension from the university. Please acquire the correct knowledge and take sufficient care.

Let’s learn the basics of copyright!

Case studies for academic staff and students

Handling of copyrighted material in online content with educational and research aims

A partial revision of the Copyright Act implemented on January 1, 2004 relaxed the regulations on use of copyrighted material in educational settings. However, there have been cases of Copyright Act violations as a result of mistaken interpretations of the law.

In particular, there have been numerous misunderstandings about use of copyrighted web content distributed online and there has been a tendency for people to believe that copyrighted material can be used without the permission of the copyright holder as long as the aim of use is for educational or research purposes. However, web content can be viewed by an unspecified number of people and for this reason it is not applicable under the requirements for the application of the relaxed regulations, which state that use must only be to the “extent considered necessary.” It is not possible to use copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder.
Even if the persons viewing the content are restricted to course students (when authentication is obtained via Waseda-net portal) or distribution is restricted to a local area (such as Waseda University), it is not possible to use copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder.

Distributing web content requires the following processes:

– Storage on a PC as a data file (duplication)
– Uploading of the file onto a web server (public transmission)
– Distribution to an unspecified number of people (public transmission)

For this reason, when using other parties’ copyrighted materials, it is necessary to obtain the permission of the copyright holder in accordance with Article 21 (Right of reproduction) and Article 23, Paragraph 1 (Rights to transmit to the public) of the Copyright Act.


We have posted examples of likely scenarios at educational and research institutions. In the case of the discovery of the violation of copyright in web content, normally the administrator will implement immediate measures to stop distribution. In the event that such a violation is pointed out by a third party, there is the possibility of the situation developing into a lawsuit.

How to prevent Copyright Act violations

Web page confirmation criteria

Content that cannot be distributed
  • Copyrighted material that is within the scope of “quotations” but for which references have not been clearly cited (violation of Article 48)
  • Copyrighted materials that have been duplicated without the permission of the copyright holder (violations of Articles 21 and 23)

In the following cases[作成者1] , distribution is not possible as a general rule. However, distribution is possible if a compulsory license can be obtained from the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs and a compensation deposit is made (Article 67).

  • Copyrighted material is duplicated or cited but the identity or whereabouts of the copyright holder is unknown.
 Distributable content
  • Content created using images or original text for which the web administrator holds the copyrights
  • Copies of copyrighted materials belonging to other parties (such as photographs and text copied from web pages or magazines, etc.), when the sources are clearly cited and the permission of the copyright holder to list the materials in question has been obtained (Articles 21, 32 and 48)
  • The copyrighted materials of other parties are being used solely for the purposes of “quotation,” a clear distinction is made from the main text, and sources are clearly cited (Articles 32 and 48)

Links related to copyright

Agency for Cultural Affairs website: copyright
This is an easy-to-understand explanation of copyright in relation to educational institutions.



Likely case studies at educational and research institutions

Case studies

A student has created web content in order to make a presentation of her study results in a lesson, but the following problems with the content have been discovered:

  • There is no clear distinction between the sections citing copyrighted materials belonging to other parties and the sections she has written herself.
  • Text taken from the content of other websites has been used almost without any modification (beyond the scope of quotation).
  • Photographs taken by a famous photographer have been used without citing the source.
  • The permission of the copyright holder was not obtained to list (or duplicate) other copyrighted material.

The above case study represents a violation of Articles 21, 23, 32 and 48 of the Copyright Act and would require measures to be implemented to suspend distribution.

Reasons the above case study violates the Copyright Act

In relation to quotations, according to Article 32, Paragraph 1 of the Copyright Act it is permissible to make quotations from the work of others without the permission of the copyright holder in presentation materials and reports, but the following conditions must be met.

1. It is necessary to cite the copyrighted work of other parties.

2. There is a clear distinction between the author’s own work and that which is being cited.

3. There is a clear superior-subordinate relationship between the author’s own copyrighted material and that of the quotation (the author’s own copyrighted material must have the primary role).

4. The sources of the cited copyrighted materials must be clearly stated (Article 48).

The above case violates the Copyright Act because conditions 2, 3 and 4 are not satisfied. When using duplications of copyrighted material, when it is intended to disclose content to an unspecified number of people, such as online web content, even for survey or research purposes, it is necessary to carry out procedures for obtaining the permission of the copyright holder to use the copyrighted materials in accordance with Article 21 (Right of reproduction) and Article 23, Paragraph 1 (Rights to transmit to the public).


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