We have received several inquiries about the treatment of copyrighted materials in the course of school lessons under new Article 35 of the Copyright Act in Japan. An explanation of the position is below.
New Article 35(1) allows teachers at non-profit schools to use copyrighted materials in online lessons as long as it does not unreasonably prejudice the interests of the copyright owner. Such teachers are therefore only permitted by the law to reproduce and share with their class online individual pages or other minor elements of materials already purchased by their school or their students, in order to assist with their online lessons. This is the same right that teachers always had to make copies of pages in order to teach their classes.
In addition, the new Article 35 requires that compensation for such online use be paid by the school. For this year only that compensation has been set to 0 by the relevant agency (SARTRAS), but from 2021 compensation will be payable and only those schools which have been admitted to the SARTRAS scheme will be protected by the new provisions of Article 35(1).
In all other respects the law is exactly the same as before. The new law does not allow teachers to reproduce or share multiple pages or large amounts of OUP materials, nor does it allow teachers to reproduce or share OUP materials not owned by their school or their students. If you wish to do so you are still required to obtain the permission of copyright holders (OUP Japan or our group) and should contact in the usual way. Use of OUP materials without such permission is still a breach of the copyright law.
For more information and guidance, please see the SARTRAS website: https://sartras.or.jp/
OUP Japan are very aware of the difficult circumstances under which schools, teachers and pupils are currently working, and we are happy to answer any queries about this or recommend any materials suitable for online learning.