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Image via Shueisha

Manga Artist Ken Akamatsu Discusses Japanese Copyright Law and AI

Ken Akamatsu, the mangaka who created the manga series Love Hina and Negima: Magister Negi Magi and is a politician in Japan, stated that he is looking into how he and the law can help protect artists from AI. This comes after controversy over Ekijin no Karute’s mangaka Kishin Higuchi noticing that AI “content creators” have been scraping his work without his consent to generate images for profit.

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This is a translation of Akamatsu’s tweet:

“I’ve received many questions in regards to what happened with Kishin Higuchi-sensei’s LoRA. What makes this case unique is that Civitai has stated on its distribution page, ‘The pictures used to teach the AI models were all ones we made ourselves. We have not used any copyrighted material from the actual illustrators.’ However, even if you haven’t used any of the actual illustrators’ works to teach your AI, it will still count as copyright infringement if the produced work is similar enough to copyrighted material.”

He goes on to explain that those who use LoRA, as well as the developers, would be considered to be breaking copyright law. He includes a link to the Agency for Cultural Affairs’s website, as well as a contact form for legal advice if you want to discuss anything in regards to AI and copyright law.

The Kishin Higuchi case in question has to do with him noticing that people have been generating AI art based on his style. He has reached out to Hajime no Ippo’s George Morikawa and Aoi Hono’s Kazuhiko Shimamoto for advice. Higuchi has also banned fanart of his work. According to Manga Mogura, some Twitter (X) users have noticed AI artists stealing and copying the styles of creators like Oda (One Piece) and Kubo (Bleach). Fanwork has always existed in a gray zone of the law due to fans creating content based on works and characters under copyright. It’s unclear if laws to curb AI “artists” and protect manga artists will affect actual human fans and their fan content.

Japan, as well as other countries, are working on ways to combat AI generated “content” to protect human creators.

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Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.