* * * If you are fluent in Japanese, we could use your help! Please see the Petition Updates for more information! * * *
Keiji Inafune: Co-designer of Mega-Man, Producer for the Oninumsha and Dead Rising series
Yoshinori Ono: Responsible for reviving the Street Fighter series
Hideki Kamiya: Creator of Okami, Viewtiful Joe, and Devil May Cry
Shinji Mikami: Creator of the Resident Evil series, Dino Crisis, and God Hand
All four of these men helped put Capcom on the map with their creations. Three of them have left in disgust due to the current state of their publisher, Capcom, and their stance on the rights of content creators and artists. The one who didn't leave, Ono, was overworked to the point of hospitalization, a disturbing echo of a female Capcom employee who was harassed by her employers to the point of attempted suicide back in December of last year. What's clear is that the working standards maintained by Capcom are far less than ideal for artists who create content that is loved by millions and yet who receive a disproportionately small amount of benefit when compared to publishing executives such as Kenzo Tsujimoto.
Maybe we should take the first step to changing that.
=====What We Want to Do=====
Inafune, Kamiya, and Mikami no longer hold the rights to the franchises they themselves created and put on the map. This may be standard practice for other electronic entertainment publishing giants, but an interesting wrinkle is Japan's traditional stance on intellectual property rights for manga artists. You need only refer to the aptly named Copyright Act of Japan.
=====The Copyright Act=====
Section 3: Contents of Rights
Subsection 1: General Provisions
Article 17 - Rights of author
An author shall enjoy the rights provided for in paragraph (1) of the next Article, Article 19, paragraph (1) and Article 20, paragraph (1)(hereinafter referred to as "moral rights of author") as well as the rights provided for in Articles 21 to 28 (hereinafter referred to as "copyright").
Subsection 3: Types of Rights Comprising a Copyright
Article 21 - Right of Reproduction
The author shall have the exclusive right to reproduce his work.
Article 28 - Right of the original author in the exploitation of a derivative work
In connection with the exploitation of a derivative work, the author of the original work shall have exclusive rights of the same types as those possessed by the author of the derivative work under the provisions of this Subsection.
There are also said to be laws in Japan that specifically allow manga authors and artists to hold the rights on their creations even after leaving their publisher. Why a conceptually similar level of protection is not afforded to video game content creators is a mystery, especially in light of the specific words of the Copyright Act of Japan.
I would like to petition the Japanese Ministry of Justice to propose a law that would seek to extend intellectual property rights to video game creators in the way the Copyright Act of Japan had originally intended.
And I would like to ask all of you to join me.
If you truly care for the medium and not just the industry, if you value what is right over apathy and compromise, and if you value integrity and quality over a publishing machine that seeks to consume more than it creates, please spread the word.
Inafune Says We Need Heroes
The Rise and Collapse of Yoshinori Ono
Kamiya Comments on the Missing Okami Credits
Shinji Mikami Symbolically Commits Digital Seppuku to Demonstrate His Break from Capcom
"Over the years we’ve seen the destruction of the JRPG, the marginalization of Japanese game design and the mass exodus of developers from design companies. This all points to a very real problem, and one that is sadly not likely to change anytime soon. Some of our favorite franchises are stuck with inept leadership, and my beloved Japanese aesthetics are being misrepresented and poorly handled by the incompetent and disconnected. Eventually, some significant shift will have to occur, but possibly not before we witness the deaths of even more beloved characters. Mega Man was not the first franchise to die an untimely death, and it will not be the last."
To echo the words of Jody Sol, commenting on Inafune's call for heroes:
Are you a bad enough dude to save the video game industry?