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Slam Dunk Inspired Campaign Flyer Of Japan’s Mayoral Candidate Raises Copyright Concerns

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Following the the Kanuma City mayoral election held on June 9, 2024, a campaign flyer distributed by the losing candidate’s team has come under scrutiny for potentially violating copyright laws.

The flyer featured an illustration resembling the poster of Slam Dunk‘s latest anime film. This similarity has raised potential copyright infringement issues, according to legal experts.

It included key political figures donning basketball uniforms, including Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi and Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda. Central to the illustration was the mayoral candidate Mikio Kobayashi.

Under the headline Total Effort, the flyer also carried the message “If we give up, Kanuma ends here“.

Right- Campaign flyer; Left- Slam Dunk movie poster

Hiroyuki Nakajima, a lawyer specializing in copyright law, highlighted the similarities between the flyer and the movie poster.

The number of people, their poses, clothing, bibs, and the overall composition strongly evoke the essential characteristics of the ‘THE FIRST SLAM DUNK’ poster. There is a risk of infringing the adaptation rights under copyright law,” Nakajima stated.

In response to this, a senior official from Kobayashi’s campaign explained in an interview that the flyer was created by young staff members who drew inspiration from similar posters used by shopping districts in other prefectures.

The official admitted that the flyers, which were distributed in newspapers prior to the official campaign period, were not scrutinized for potential copyright issues.

Despite the creative campaign efforts, Mikio Kobayashi, 70, who was endorsed by both the LDP and Komeito, was defeated in the mayoral race by Shoichi Matsui, 58.

Source: Livedoor News

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