Using Copyright as Leverage, Japan Sports Council Refuses to Pay Zaha Hadid

Proposed Japan National Stadium, designed by Zaha Hadid.

Proposed Japan National Stadium, designed by Zaha Hadid.

According to world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are refusing to pay for her designs for its Olympic Stadium unless she gives up the copyright and signs a gag order.

None of this seems that outlandish or shocking. What will be of interest is what parts of Hadid’s architectural design are protected by copyright law (in Japan and elsewhere), and whether or not the new architect, Kengo Kuma, actually copied and infringed these same copyrights.

According to The Telegraph, Zaha Hadid Architects is consulting with its legal representatives and says it “will take legal action if our concerns are not promptly addressed to our satisfaction”.

UPDATE: January 20, 2016

We have some thoughts on Japanese intellectual property law via Kodai Kimura.

Japanese Copyright Law confers a reproduction right to a copyright holder of the work. To constitute copyright infringement, there are two requirements, (a) plaintiff owns a valid copyright of the work, and (b) the alleged infringer actually infringes (such as reproduction, adaptation etc. which amounts to conduct subject to copyright) the protected work .  Unlike the U.S., Copyright Law automatically allows a court to grant injunctive relief if copyright infringement would be found.

More analysis here.

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